- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 August 1, 2003 

Sport: Pyunik let their chances slip

Bulgaria 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 Republican stadium.

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 Stoian Petrov.

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 Galatasaray.

According to Agnes
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About 10 to 15 students sat outside the Presidential Residence in Yerevan Thursday to protest the closing of student hostels. They held banners saying "Think about future students" and "Mr. President are you with us?" The government is dismantling the student hostels, forcing non-resident students to find other housing.


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