By Stoyan Georgiev
UEFA European Under-21 qualifying Group 8 leaders Croatia dropped points for the first time in their 2006 campaign as Bulgaria came from behind to claim victory in Sofia.
Bulgaria were fifth in pool before kick-off, level on points with bottom team Malta, and things looked worrying when Croatia's key man Eduardo Da Silva hit the bar after a 13th-minute Luka Modric corner. But Bulgaria responded immediately with the next attack, when 18-year-old PFC Levski Sofia striker Valeri Domovchiyski struck the post.
Croatia then lost the Brazilian-born Da Silva to injury late in the first half, Josip Tadic arriving up front. And three minutes after the break the 17-year-old gave Croatia the lead with a cool finish past Bulgaria goalkeeper Nikolai Mihailov, son of the legendary Borislav Mihailov.
It seemed Croatia were on course for a sixth win in the group, but the home side reacted quickly and in the 56th minute PFC Lokomotiv Sofia forward Tsvetan Genkov headed the equaliser after Iliyan Mitsanski's clever pass.
Just six minutes later Domovchiyski claimed the winner in bizarre circumstances. His initial effort hit the crossbar after Zhivko Milanov's cross, as did Mitsanski's follow-up, but Domovchiyski then reacted quickest with the goal that doubled Bulgaria's points tally to six.
Despite the defeat, Croatia remain clear in the group and can move to within sight of a play-off place when they travel to Iceland on 3 September. The same day Bulgaria will aim to further revive their qualifying hopes in Sweden.