Ludogorets celebrate maiden Bulgarian title

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad have been crowned champions of Bulgaria for the first time, in their debut top-flight season, after overcoming PFC CSKA Sofia 1-0 in a final-day showdown.

Ivaylo Petev has done a remarkable job in guiding Ludogorets to the double
Ivaylo Petev has done a remarkable job in guiding Ludogorets to the double ©Stoyan Georgiev

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad have sealed an unprecedented domestic double in their first season in the Bulgarian A League after triumphing 1-0 against PFC CSKA Sofia.

Trailing the Army Men by two points, Ludogorets knew only victory would be sufficient to pip their opponents to the title, and they made the perfect start when midfielder Miroslav Ivanov curled a sumptuous free-kick beyond Raïs M'Bolhi. CSKA almost responded immediately but Plamen Krachunov's header came back off the bar, before their task became an arduous one when Angel Granchov was sent off for a foul on Stanislav Genchev.

Stoycho Mladenov's side, who had lost the title in identical circumstances in 1984, were handed a lifeline after the break when numerical parity was restored courtesy of Svetoslav Dyakov's second yellow card. Resuming control, CSKA proceeded to hit the woodwork again, and fate seemed destined to deny them, when Njongo Priso struck the bar five minutes later.

CSKA's misfortune was compounded when Ludogorets goalkeeper Uroš Golubović denied Júnior Moraes with a stunning save to ensure the once Bulgarian minnows created history. "We knew we had to fight together to the end and now we are happy," said Ludogorets coach Ivaylo Petev. "We played well in the first half. We had some luck in the second and now it is time to celebrate."