Ludogorets climbed to the top of the First League for the first time since the 10th round after a very hard-fought 1-0 win over Loko Sofia. Despite the total dominance with 30:2 in shots, the only goal was scored by the usual savior of late Igor Thiago in the 81st minute. And the guests played a little more than a whole half with a man less.
Ludogorets has a whole team of injured players, which once again forced changes in the lineup. Given the injuries to the two left backs - Anton Nedyalkov and Denny Gropper, coach Ivaylo Petev retrained right back Pipa in this area, and Witry was on the left. In the previous match, their positions were exchanged. In the center of the defense this time, the Argentinian Franco Russo was preferred at the expense of Plastun. Gonsalves and Piotrowski appeared as defensive midfielders, and Spas Delev acted in front of them. Petev bet on the two flanks of Despodov and Tekpetey.
In the first eight minutes alone, the Eagles had three chances, the first two of which were by Tekpetey and Despodov. In the third, Tekpetey received the ball, which was cleared by the Loko Sofia defense, but it was deflected and went to Piotrowski. The Polish midfielder hit the ground hard with his right foot, but Guy kicked it in front of the goal line. However, the "red and blacks" continued to play too closed, which continued to lead to dangerous situations in front of Guy's goal.
In the 18th minute, the home team had another chance to score, but Boubacar Guy intervened at the last moment. Kiril Despodov punished a mistake by Luka Ivanov and sneaked behind the young defender, then shot. Guy deflected the ball with his body, then drove towards his goal, but the Gambian keeper moved to the goal line and boxed it wide at the last minute.
Five minutes later, a goal was disallowed for Ludogorets. Razgrad players played the ball in front of Loko Sofia's penalty area and the ball went to the right for Pipa. The full-back returned well to Spas Delev, who shot, and Thiago skipped the ball, then flew into Guy's goal. The situation was re-examined and the referees disallowed the goal, due to an ambush, not by Thiago, but by Spas Delev in an earlier phase of the attack.
In the 32nd, Malembana had an excellent opportunity to open for Loko from a cross, but a Ludogorets defender put his body in front of the ball just before Padt's goal was fired.
Four after that, Ludogorets right-back Witry found himself in an advantageous position to shoot and took it, but Guy once again made a superb save.
Two minutes before the end of the first half, Loco Sofia's defender Celso Raposo made a pointless sharp tackle on the feet of Spas Delev, while the ball was going into touch, and logically received a second yellow card.
After the break, Ludogorets continued to dominate. In the 56th, Jakub Piotrowski shot very hard from mid-range through a bowl of Lokomotiv Sofia players. The ball went through him but Guy parried. Seconds later, Pipa crossed from the left into Loko's penalty area and found an unmarked Spas Delev, who headed in, but Guy tipped the ball away for a corner.
After just over an hour of play, Lokomotiv Sofia almost opened the scoring through France, who overcame the home defence, but Padt made the save after staying in his face.
In the 66th, Caio Vidal outwitted two Loco Sofia defenders and passed a fine pass to Thiago. The Brazilian headed in, but the ball bounced off Guy's crossbar, which he then grabbed.
Nine before the end, the hosts Spas Delev crossed, and the big hero in the last matches for the Eagles - Igor Thiago, headed in and converted.
In the 85th minute, Tissera entered the penalty area and after contact with Alan Diaz fell. Referee Dimitrov showed the white spot. However, the VAR canceled it.