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By ESPN Staff

Ludogorets through to last 32

Brazilian striker Juninho Quixada fired a 47th-minute opener as Bulgarian side Ludogorets did enough to seal their qualification for the Europa League knockout stages in Sofia.

The hosts had gone into their fourth Group B game with one foot already in the last 32 after a stunning start which saw them win all three of their opening fixtures without conceding a goal.

And despite losing both records in a tough clash with the Ukrainians, the point left Ludogorets with a three-point lead at the top of the group with two games to play.

The hosts had the first chance through Fabio Espinho on five minutes but Chornomorets clearly came hoping for the win which would boost their own chances of reaching the next stage.

The dangerous Olexiy Gai had the visitors' first chance in the 24th minute and their good spell continued as both Markus Berger and Ivan Bobko came close in an impressive period.

But the home side, who went into the game as Bulgarian league leaders and with four straight wins in all competitions, hit back with chances for Hristo Zlatinski and Mihail Aleksandrov.

The seemingly inevitable opener came two minutes after the restart when Virgil Misidjan worked his way into space on the left and crossed for Quixada to poke the ball past goalkeeper Dmytro Bezotosnyi.

Ludogorets' proud record of not conceding a goal was finally brought to an end in the 64th minute when Ivan Bobko whipped in a free-kick which Gai met at the near post to nod home the equaliser.

Gai came close again for the visitors in the 68th minute but the hosts also finished well and the final whistle guaranteed their progression to the next stage.


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