A late Dimitar Berbatov goal snatched a draw for Bulgaria against Albania in Tirana but victories elsewhere for Romania and the Netherlands left their UEFA EURO 2008™ qualification hopes hanging by a thread.
The visitors trailed their hosts for much of the Group G encounter after a first-half own goal by Radostin Kishishev, but Berbatov struck three minutes from time to earn Bulgaria a point which leaves them needing to win their last two games and hope the Netherlands slip up.
Albania, whose only victories in the group had come against bottom side Luxembourg, started brightly and were thwarted by the crossbar when Hamdi Salihi shot past goalkeeper Georgi Petkov. The former might have scored moments later too, but could only divert a close-range effort over after a cross by Ervin Skela.
It was a tight contest, and home goalkeeper Arian Beqaj had to be alert to tip over Martin Petrov's volley, before Albania took the lead on 32 minutes. Klodian Duro swung over a free-kick which the unfortunate Kishishev could only head into his own net. The home team might even have doubled their advantage but Erion Bogdani found the side-netting after Petkov had parried a Salihi shot into his path.
They were made to pay for that miss when Berbatov scored from Petrov's pass, although Albania still had a chance to claim all three points after Igor Tomašić handled inside his own area. Petkov saved Skela's spot-kick, though, to leave Bulgaria with a slender chance of making it to Austria/Switzerland. They must hope that six points against Romania and Slovenia next month are combined with no more than a point for the Netherlands against Luxembourg and Belarus.