Ludogorets matched Real Madrid – Dermendzhiev

The Bulgarian’s coach was immensely proud at how his team went close to pulling off a shock draw with the reigning European champions, even taking an early lead

Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev was proud of the way of his team matched Real Madrid despite losing the Champions League tie 2-1 on Wednesday.

A sixth-minute header from Marcelinho gave the hosts the lead in Wednesday’s Group B encounter in Sofia, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to level with his second penalty of the match.

Despite that equaliser, Ludogorets held their own and even had chances to win the game against the tournament holders, who ultimately prevailed thanks to a 77th-minute effort from substitute Karim Benzema.

Ludogorets have now come away with nothing from two successive Champions League games in which they have performed admirably, a last-gasp Steven Gerrard penalty enough to give Liverpool a 2-1 victory at Anfield on matchday one.

Dermendzhiev was nevertheless thrilled with the latest showing from the Bulgarian outfit and remains hopeful that they can defy the odds and progress from their group.

“Of course I am disappointed. We were brave, courageous and played with no fear against the reigning European champions,” Dermendzhiev told reporters.

“We played as an equal to Real and I am delighted with our performance, we could have earned a draw.

“The group will be tough, all three teams [Liverpool, Basel and Ludogorets] may even fight for the second spot.”

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