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Rajczi rallies to Hungarian cause

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

[1] A last-gasp goal from substitute Péter Rajczi gave Hungary a draw that keeps alive their hopes of reaching the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals from Group 8.

Chance missed

[2] Bulgaria led through Stilian Petrov early in the second half and seemed to be on course to move to within two points of second-placed Sweden. But Rajczi's goal keeps his side just a point behind Bulgaria at the halfway stage in the group.

Petrovs return

[3] After the duo missed out on Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Sweden through suspension, coach Hristo Stoitchkov was able to welcome back Stilian Petrov and Martin Petrov to his Bulgaria starting lineup. And the two Petrovs ensured their side looked livelier that they had at the weekened.

Coaches' reunion

[4] However, Hungary coach Lothar Matthäus - who was on the German side that dramatically lost a 1994 World Cup quarter-final against Bulgaria, for whom Stoitchkov scored - saw his side restrain their visitors well in the first half, though Stilian Petrov and Dimitar Berbatov both went close.

Bulgaria ahead

[5] Stoitchkov's half-time talk seemed to do the trick in upping Bulgaria's play, and within seven minutes, their persistent pressure paid off when the two Petrov's combined to give the Bulgarians the lead. A long pass forward from Martin provided Stilian with a simple header, which the Celtic FC midfield player had little trouble directing past Gábor Kiraly in the Hungarian goal.

Substitution successful

[6] The three points looked to be heading to Bulgaria, but the decision to send on Rajczi six minutes from time proved to be an inspired one by Matthäus. With just seconds left in the game, a corner from Zoltán Böor wormed its way through the visiting defence, allowing Rajczi an easy tap-in.

June games

[7] Bulgaria now face the visit of unbeaten leaders Croatia on 4 June, when Hungary travel to Iceland - yet to win in the group.

Hungary's Roland Juhász and Adam Komlósi are outjumped by Dimitar Berbatov