PFC CSKA Sofia 2-0 KF Tirana (agg: 4-0) CSKA ease past Tirana to book a tie against holders Liverpool FC.
By Stoyan Georgiev at Balgarska Armia stadium
PFC CSKA Sofia scored goals at the start and end of the game to seal a comfortable aggregate win against KF Tirana and book a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie with holders Liverpool FC.
After CSKA scored two goals in the last two minutes to break the deadlock in in Albania last week, Guillaume Zadi effectively made it three in four minutes at the start of tonight's game. It was a sign of things to come as the home side dominated proceedings, although it was not until the end that they added to their lead.
The Bulgarian title-holders were grateful for late goals from Zadi and Emil Gargorov in the first leg and it was the Ivorian striker that again broke the deadlock in Sofia, heading in Hristo Yanev's right-wing cross. Zadi, Yanev and Gargorov all had chances to extend the lead but could not take advantage.
The first half nevertheless ended in disappointment for the home side as defender Valentin Iliev was booked for a challenge on Altin Rakkli, meaning he will be suspended for next week's first leg. The second half was tepid by comparison but one moment of individual brilliance woke everybody up.
With 20 minutes remaining, Moroccan midfield player Mourad Hidiouad tried his luck from a position close to the halfway line, unleashing a thumping drive that beat the goalkeeper, but could not evade the post. Todorov eventually doubled the lead from considerably closer in in added time, tapping in after good work from Petar Dimitrov.
"We finished the job," said CSKA coach Miodrag Jesic. "Now we will think about our league game against [PFC] Botev Plovdiv on Saturday and then we will prepare for Liverpool. It is a real blow for us that Valentin Iliev will miss the first leg."