Dundalk way out of depth in Sofia
Levski Sofia 6 Dundalk 0DUNDALK endured a torrid night in Sofia as they were destroyed by a polished Levski Sofia side in no mood for showing mercy.
The League of Ireland side were outclassed in every department and could not handle the experienced Bulgarians who could have scored more than the six goals they finished with.
A crestfallen Ian Foster expressed his disappointment after the defeat.
“It was a huge step up in class,” he said. “We couldn’t cope. I feel sorry for the players. They didn’t deserve six, we put in hard shift and tried to compete against a very good Levski side.
“We have a lot of young inexperienced players who found it very difficult. We knew that the forward players would hurt us if we stood off them. It was no surprise how good Levski were, we’re just disappointed with the manner of some of the goals we conceded.”
Foster sprung a surprise with the inclusion of Peter Cherrie in goal, returning to action having not played since before the mid-season break.
But the move backfired as the Scottish goalkeeper flapped at Joaozinho’s 11th minute cross, allowing Hristo Yoyov all the time he needed to sweep the ball home.
He could do nothing for the Bulgarians’ second goal as they carved Dundalk open with alarming ease. Yoyov started the move by finding Darko Tasevski in space and his ball split the defence for Daniel Mladenov to slip the ball past the despairing Cherrie.
French striker Garra Dembele made it three with four minutes remaining in the half, playing a neat one-two with Taveski and beating Cherrie at his near post.
Just 48 seconds of the second half had elapsed when Levski grabbed a fourth as Garry Breen’s sliced clearance went straight to Tasevski who found Mladenov in the box and he chipped the ball over Cherrie.
The floodgates finally opened late on as Ismail Isa grabbed a late double. With five minutes remaining he headed home a Veselin Minev cross, before he capitalised on a loose ball in the box to complete the rout.
LEVSKI SOFIA: Petkov; Stanchev, Miliev, Ivanov, Minev; Gadzhev, Yovov (Baltanov 53); Mladenov, Tasevski (Aleksandrov 65), Joaozinho; Dembele (Isa 78).
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Kelly, McGuigan, Breen, Hatswell; Maher, Miller, Cawley; Kuduzovic (McGowan 80), Fenn (Lennon 60), Gaynor.
Referee: D Orsato (Italy).