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Center Back Cosmin Moti Saves Two in PK Shootout; Sends Ludogorets to Champions League Group Stage

This is one of those finishes a neutral fan will never forget. This is definitely one of those finishes Ludogorets players and fans will never forget. Ludogorets plays in the Bulgarian League and became a professional team in June of 2001. 13 years later and they are in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage with the best teams in the world and they got there in the most shocking of ways.

Ludogorets was losing 1-0 in aggregate when their late sub Wanderson equalized in the 90th minute to send the game into extra time. In the 118th minute, the nightmare scenario happened when goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov got a red card for a hard foul and Ludogorets were out of subs so they couldn’t bring on a goalkeeper. Defender Cosmin Moti was chosen to be in goal and survived the final few minutes to get to the penalty shootout. Then the fun really began.

Both Ludogorets and Steaua Bucharest converted their first PK’s. The goalscorer Wanderson stepped up and took a weak PK and all seemed like it was doomed. In steps up Moti and makes an incredible save to keep it tied at 1. After some brilliant penalty taking, it was 5-5 after 6 PK’s from each team. Ludogorets converted their 7th to make it 6-5 and it was all up to Bucharest in sudden death. What resulted was Moti not only making the save but doing it so well that he caught the ball. From being an amateur team until this millennium, Ludogorets becomes the unofficial Cinderella of this years UEFA Champions League and will learn of their group tomorrow morning. Ludogorets may not be winning the Champions League title or even getting out of the group stage but they will be celebrating tonight as if they did.

Phillip Bupp

About Phillip Bupp

Managing editor for 32 Flags as well as a writer for Total-MLS covering Sporting Kansas City. Look for Phillip on the Total-MLS Roundtable and feel free to follow @phillipbupp and @MLSTitleBelt, a project where the title holder must defend the title in every MLS game.

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