Bulgaria and Switzerland draw a blank

Bulgaria 0-0 Switzerland Alexander Frei was twice denied by home goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov, but a draw did neither side many favours in Group G.

Switzerland's Gökhan Inler (right) and Spas Delev jostle for possession
Switzerland's Gökhan Inler (right) and Spas Delev jostle for possession ©Getty Images

A goalless draw in Sofia did neither Bulgaria or Switzerland many favours, with the two sides now six points adrift of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group G leaders England and Montenegro.

Lothar Mätthaus's Bulgaria took on a Switzerland selection coached by the former midfielder's one-time FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, but neither pupil nor master could get the upper hand. The most notable actions of the game came when Alexander Frei was twice denied by home goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov.

Ivelin Popov shot wide for Bulgaria in the first minute, and Dimitar Makriev let fly shortly afterwards, but while Popov and Stiliyan Petrov − making his 100th appearance for Bulgaria – pulled the strings in midfield, the best chance of the half went to Switzerland, when Frei's close-range header was superbly saved by Mihaylov.

Petar Zanev sent a long-range shot just over Marco Wölfli's goal as half-time approached, and Bulgaria started the second period brightly too, but could not carve out much of note. Frei then forced Mihaylov to make another crucial intervention just after the hour mark, with the FC Twente goalkeeper flipping the striker's powerful header over the crossbar.

With both sides desperate for points, the game ebbed and flowed dizzily in the closing stages. Defender Ivan Bandalovski looked to return Wölfli's punched clearance with interest, but his effort bounced wide, and then Blerim Dzemaili's fierce shot was headed over by Kostadin Stoyanov before Gökhan Inler almost grazed the post with a low drive.

Bandalovski intervened again to deny Eren Derdiyok a sight of goal in the dying minutes, and Mihaylov fended off a Mario Gavranović shot at the death.

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