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Bulgaria bounce back by beating Malta

Malta 1-2 Bulgaria
The visitors remain in pole position to clinch second spot in Group B thanks to goals from Radoslav Dimitrov and Emil Gargorov.

Radoslav Dimitrov is congratulated by his Bulgaria team-mates
Radoslav Dimitrov is congratulated by his Bulgaria team-mates ©Domenic Aquilina

Bulgaria consolidated second place in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B thanks to a 2-1 success against Malta.

The visitors, who succumbed 1-0 against section winners Italy last time out, responded with intent in Ta' Qali as Radoslav Dimitrov opened the scoring on nine minutes. PFC CSKA Sofia midfielder Emil Gargorov doubled the lead before the hour though Edward Herrera's reply ensured a nerve-jangling final 12 minutes.

There was an air of inevitably about the result from the moment Dimitrov's dipping effort deceived Malta goalkeeper Justin Haber. The home team – spurred on by the tireless running of Herrera – toiled in vain as they failed to make the most of several openings. They were duly punished for their profligacy when Gargorov slotted in after the interval.

Terence Vella – a 77th-minute replacement for captain Michael Mifsud – lifted Malta spirits by expertly teeing up Herrera, who gave Nikolay Mihailov no chance. There was to be no further drama, however, as Bulgaria – now a point clear of third-placed Denmark – held out ahead of October assignments with Armenia and the Czech Republic.