Football / World Cup USA '94: Bulgaria secure onward passage

Argentina 0

Bulgaria 2

THERE were long shadows on the grass here yesterday, none more imposing than the figurative one cast by Diego Maradona. Without their fallen captain, Argentina were squeezed into third place in Group D when Nasko Sirakov headed a second Bulgarian goal in injury time.

Argentina must now play Romania in Pasadena, while Bulgaria got to New York to take on Mexico. They will be without Tsanko Zvetanov, sent off in the 66th minute for a trip too many in a match of nine bookings but no real malice.

A freshly Tippexed space next to the No 10 slot on the teamsheet confirmed Maradona had officially become a non-player, but there were few signs initially that Fernando Redondo or the other Diego, Simeone, were inhibited by additional responsibility.

Both stroked the ball around with aplomb - distance no object - though it took Jose Chamot to inject a sense of urgency after 22 minutes of tentative probing. Argentina's left- back, another of the real finds of these finals, made ground before feeding Claudio Caniggia 25 yards out. His raking shot was scrambled behind by Borislav Mikhailov.

Minutes later, after a rugged challenge by Emil Kremenliev, Argentina's second most famous ex-cocaine user was substituted. There was nothing obviously wrong with Caniggia, but with numbers already depleted they were taking no chances. Bulgaria, sensing that their opponents' commitment might be less than total, came close when Hristo Stoichkov sent a free-kick just over the bar, while it took three defenders to curtail Sirakov's dribble into the danger zone.

Argentina claimed penalties immediately before and after Stoichkov's breakthrough, as first Abel Balbo and later Gabriel Batistuta tumbled under vigorous challenges, but an otherwise whistle-happy referee was unmoved.

On the hour, Bulgaria broke the impasse with a goal out of character with a humdrum game. Kremenliev's angled through-pass picked out Stoichkov as he broke from midfield, and he beat the Barcelona keeper, Luis Islas, to the ball before nudging it past him from 18 yards.

ARGENTINA (4-4-2): Islas (Independiente); Diaz (River Plate), Caceres (Real Zaragoza), Ruggeri (San Lorenzo), Chamot (Foggia); Balbo (Roma), Rodriguez (Atalanta), Redondo (Real Madrid), Simeone (Seville); Batistuta (Fiorentina), Caniggia (Roma). Substitute: Ortega (River Plate) for Caniggia, 25; Medina Bello (Yokahama Marinos) for Rodriguez, 67.

BULGARIA (4-4-2): Mikhailov (Mulhouse); Kremenliev (Levski Sofia), Hubchev (Levski Sofia), Ivanov (Neuchatel Xamax), Zvetanov (Levski Sofia); Lechkov (Hamburg), Yankov (Levski Sofia), Sirakov (Levski Sofia), Balakov (Sporting Lisbon); Kostadinov (Porto), Stoichkov (Barcelona). Substitute: Kiryakov (Lerida) for Kostadinov, 73; Borimirov (Levski Sofia) for Lechkov, 76. .

Referee: N Jouini (Tunisia).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor