Mexico 1-0 Bulgaria
An under-strength Bulgaria were beaten by a last-minute goal against Mexico at Giants stadium in New York.
Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov, who travelled to the United States with only 15 players, saw his side perform well against opponents who will be competing in this summer’s FIFA World Cup finals. But, as well as the disappointment of conceding late in the game, Bulgaria had Rosen Kirilov sent off in the 53rd minute after a dangerous tackle led to a second yellow card.
Two good chances
Mexico began the brighter of the two sides and could have taken the lead in the 18th minute. Captain Rafael Marquez’s free-kick soared beyond Bulgaria goalkeeper Yordan Gospodinov only to hit the post and bounce to safety. A minute later Francisco Palencia fired in from 20 metres but this time Gospodinov was equal to it.
The second half began better for Bulgaria, who are looking ahead to the start of their EURO 2004™ qualification campaign this autumn. The European side seemed the likelier to score until Kirilov’s departure following an unsuccessful challenge from behind. With the extra man, Mexico asserted themselves on the game again but could still not find a chance to match those created in the first half.
Both managers had agreed to a penalty shoot-out if the game finished all square and, as time wore on, it seemed as if this was the only way the teams would be separated. However, in the 90th minute, AS Monaco defender Ramon Morales crossed from the right to the far post and substitute Francisco Gabriell was left with a simple finish.
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