World Cup Soccer Recap (Paraguay-Bulgaria)
Posted: Fri June 12, 1998 at 11:49 a.m EDT
BULGARIA 0, PARAGUAY 0
Bulgaria and Paraguay opened Group D play of the World Cup with
the first scoreless draw of France '98 in a match at
The physical game featured 41 fouls and five yellow cards,
including two to midfielder Anatoli Nankov, who was ejected in
the 88th minute.
Paraguay (0-0-1 in Group D), which was offensively inept in the
first half, had the better chances in the second half, including
a stunning 35-yard free kick by goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert
that Bulgarian counterpart Zdravko Zdravkov had to punch out
from just under the top left corner.
Playing with the man advantage, Paraguay had two good chances in
extra time. After a challenge by striker Juan Carlos Yegros
brought Zdravkov out of position, defender Denis Caniza fired a
15-yard shot over the crossbar. In the second minute of added
time, striker Cesar Ramirez curled a 16-yard shot from the right
side that Zdravkov smothered.
Bulgaria (0-0-1) dominated play in the first half and an 18-yard
shot by veteran striker Hristo Stoitchkov in the 36th minute hit
the right goalpost. He also picked up a yellow card in added
time in the first half. As a result of the two yellow cards,
Nankov will miss Bulgaria's game against Nigeria on June 19th.
Shortly after Chilavert's attempt, Stoitchkov set up Luboslav
Penev with a cross that the striker placed high from six yards.
It was Bulgaria's best chance in the second half as Paraguay
grew confident on offense.
Chilvaert grabbed the crowd's attention midway through the
second half when he dribbled out to midfield before sending a
long ball. After the free kick, he made one more foray to the
midfield, sending a long ball to the Bulgaria penalty area after
Nankov was ejected.
In the 40th minute, Chilavert punched out a 30-yard, head-on
free kick from defender Trifon Ivanov. Bulgaria held a whopping
8-2 edge in shots and attempted seven corner kicks to Paraguay's
Paraguay's best scoring chance came late in the first half as
striker Jose Cardoso came through unmarked. But his 18-yard
shot rolled wide of the left post.
Three yellow cards were issued by referee Abdul Rahman Al Zeid
of Saudi Arabia in the first half as the teams traded physical
fouls. Nankov and Stoichkov were booked as well as Paraguay
forward Miguel Benitez. In the second half, Bulgaria backliner
and captain Trifon Ivanov was given a yellow card in the 72nd
minute before Nankov picked up his second caution.
Stoitchkov came close to drawing a penalty kick early in the
contest when he was taken down by defender Pedro Sarabia, but Al
Zeid made no call.
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