jumped over Pyunic 2-0 in UEFA Cup qualifying.
Defensive errors and a failure to convert their
many chances into goals resulted in Pyunik crashing
to a 0-2 defeat to Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia in Yerevan's
The second qualifying round match in the UEFA
Champions League on Wednesday, July 30, saw Pyunik's
hopes of progressing further effectively dashed
by poor defending and a lack of invention in attack.
Both teams started the match evenly balanced
and carefully probing their opponent's abilities.
Pyunik was roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd,
eager to see victory after learning that the winners
would meet Turkey's Galatasaray in the next round.
Nothing in the early stages signaled the danger
for Pyunik in the 17th minute that saw the Armenian
champions fall behind. CSKA's Todor Yanchev capitalized
on a midfield error by Pyunik in the Bulgarians'
half and tore through the Armenian defense to
put his team ahead with relative ease.
Pyunik seemed lost in the first few minutes after
the goal, but soon restored their rhythm after
a mistake by Bulgarian defender João Carlos
in 33rd minute offered a scoring opportunity.
Levon Pachajyan stole the ball from him and shot
at the goal, forcing a fine save from CSKA's goalkeeper
CSKA appeared comfortable on the ball however
and were able to contain Pyunik's attacks without
difficulty during the rest of the first half.
They played a patient defensive game with occasional
counterattacks, which proved very practical and
wore down Pyunik's players.
The Armenian side needed an early break in the
second half if they were to get back into the
match. But after just three minutes, Pyunik's
goalkeeper Edel Bete failed to hold on to a shot
and CSKA's MacDonald Mukasi pounced on the rebound
to double the Bulgarians' advantage. At 0-2, Pyunik
had it all to do to give themselves a chance of
entering the third qualifying round.
Pyunik piled on the pressure with clever movement,
particularly down the wings, resulting in several
penalty area chances. But goalkeeper Petrov several
times saved his team from real danger and Pyunik
lacked the killer touch in front of goal.
They face an uphill struggle in the return match
in Sofia on August 6, needing to score three goals
without reply to progress to the next round and
that mouth-watering prospect of a tie against