PFC Levski Sofia are edging closer to their first Bulgarian title in four years after picking up 13 points from their last five games.
The 2005/06 UEFA Cup quarter-finalists are now five points ahead of arch-rivals PFC CSKA Sofia who started the year with a seven-point advantage at the top of the table. CSKA are continuing to struggle under new coach Plamen Markov, and the Bulgarian Cup final against PFC Cherno More Varna now looks like their only chance of salvaging some silverware from a difficult season.
A 4-1 semi-final win against PFC Naftex Bourgas raised CSKA's hopes of a first Bulgarian Cup since 1999, while Cherno More reached the final with a 2-1 win against second division side PFC Shumen after extra time. The final will be played on 24 May.
The race for third place is still between PFC Litex Lovech and PFC Lokomotiv Sofia with the former still unbeaten this year. Meanwhile, PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv are on course for a fifth-placed finish - and possibly a UEFA Intertoto Cup place - after the arrival of new investor Atanas Tassev coincided with some excellent results to take them clear of sixth-placed PFC Slavia Sofia.
At the foot of the table, PFC Belasitsa, PFC Beroe Stara Zagora, PFC Vihren Sandanski and PFC Marek Dupnista have got out of relegation trouble leaving PFC Botev Plovdiv, PFC Rodopa Smolyan, PFC Pirin 1922 and Naftex battling to avoid the drop. Pirin brought in former Bulgaria international Petar Mihtarski to replace coach Kiril Kachamanov at the start of May but the appointment may have come too late to spare them from relegation.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria's most successful coach of the 1990s, Georgi Vassilev, was appointed at Naftex in April. The man who won national titles with PFC Etar Veliko Turnovo, Levski and CSKA replaced Ivan Kyuchukov and guided led his side to their first win of 2006 against Rodopa Smolyan. However, it may take a miracle to lift his team off the foot of the table. PFC Spartak Varna may yet replace them after winning promotion back to the A PFG after running away with the Eastern B PFG title.
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