IVANOV ADDS TO MCILROY'S WOES
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ivanov struck seven minutes into the second half for the only goal of the game and left the Irish with their fourth successive defeat.
The home side had started well but having failed to break the deadlock, could not rely on their defence to keep them in the game.
A long ball by Krasimir Balakov left Ivanov on a one-on-one situation with Colin Murdock and the striker proved too hot to handle as he cruised through the Irish rearguard, before firing home from inside the area.
McIlroy had decided to start Maik Taylor in goal ahead of Roy Carroll but he was powerless to prevent Ivanov's strike from going in.
The Irish wingplay in particular caused Bulgaria some problems, but having gone ahead, it was the visitors who dominated the game.
Keith Gillespie (pictured) set up the first chance of the game for Stuart Elliott but it was Bulgaria who had a strong claim for a penalty turned down by Massimo Busacca in the 12th minute.
Elliott's 17th minute effort was well saved by Zdravko Zdravkovin and in a back and forth game, Milen Petkov saw his shot sail just wide on the half hour.
Despite David Healy going close just before the interval, it was Elliott who looked the most dangerous player on display for the Irish.
However, he will feel he should have netted mid-way through the second half when he was given a free header from Gillespie's corner but could only direct it straight at Zdravkovin.
Despite trying hard, the home side failed to make much of an impression on their visitors and a strange spectacle concluded the game as McIlroy took his side back onto the pitch and berated them in the centre circle.
Both Neil Lennon and Keith Gillespie will miss Wednesday night's game against the Czech Republic after picking up their second yellow cards of the tournament.