Denmark well placed after edging past Bulgaria

Bulgaria 2-3 Denmark
Stara Zagora hosted a thriller that both teams led, with the woodwork struck three times, before Yussuf Poulsen's 87th-minute winner.

Denmark's Nicolaj Thomsen vies with Georgi Milanov of Bulgaria
Denmark's Nicolaj Thomsen vies with Georgi Milanov of Bulgaria ©Stoyan Georgiev

Denmark came from 2-1 down to edge a thrilling encounter away to Bulgaria in Stara Zagora and continue their impressive start to UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying.

Yussuf Poulsen gave the visitors an early lead but a strong Bulgaria side came storming back and by the half-hour mark they were in front courtesy of Edisson Jordanov's deflected free-kick and a Milen Gamakov header. The pendulum swung once again after an extended half-time break, Jannik Vestergaard's 53rd-minute equaliser paving the way for Poulsen's late winner.

"It was a great team performance, especially in the second half," said Denmark coach Jess Thorup, whose team remain a point clear of Russia atop Group 2. "Bulgaria played very well in the first half and we showed tremendous character to claim an important win. This puts us in a very good position in the group, but there are still a lot of games to play."

Bulgaria are six points short of the summit with only three matches left, but they certainly gave their all here. With their senior side not in action, coach Mihail Madanski drafted in Simeon Slavchev and the Milanov twins, Georgi and Iliya, and despite falling behind on eight minutes Bulgaria's class shone through.

Aleksandar Kolev hit the bar before Jordanov levelled, and it was soon 2-1 as Gamakov rose highest to meet Georgi Milanov's corner. The outlook was bright but floodlight problems delayed the second half, and when they emerged from the gloom Denmark were brilliant. Nicolaj Thomsen had already rattled the upright when skipper Vestergaard nodded in the excellent Pierre Højbjerg's free-kick.

Denmark had a scare as Asen Georgiev sent a thunderous volley crashing against the bar, yet they survived and grabbed the victory – Højbjerg carving open the Bulgaria back line for Poulsen to fire in.