PFC Beroe Stara Zagora finally broke their hoodoo against capital teams in Bulgarian Cup finals thanks to a penalty shoot-out triumph over PFC Levski Sofia at the Gradski Stadium in Lovech.
Having lost four previous cup deciders against Sofia clubs, Petar Hubchev's men broke their duck the hard way on Wednesday. The Greens, eighth in the Bulgarian top flight, took the lead through an Élio Martins header in the 16th minute. Levski swiftly levelled with Iliyan Yordanov's close-range finish, but Beroe continued to dominate and were soon back in front courtesy of Martins's low finish. Levski's task was made all the more difficult by the dismissal of veteran midfielder Hristo Yovov just before the break.
Beroe maintained control of the game in the second half and captain Georgi Andonov made it 3-1 with 11 minutes left. However, Levski showed great courage to force extra time thanks to goals from João Silva and Garry Rodrigues. Silva could have completed a remarkable turnaround in the 120th minute but his point-blank header was splendidly saved by Beroe goalkeeper Ivan Karadzhov.
It proved a pivotal moment, with Levski – second in the A League – unable to convert their first three spot kicks in the shoot-out. Though Beroe failed to find the net twice themselves, Ivo Ivanov, Borislav Stoychev and Elias da Silva kept their cool to ensure their side lifted the trophy for the second time in their history.
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