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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Falls in Sofia As Bulgaria Qualifies

Bulgaria became only the third European nation to book its place in next summer's World Cup Finals when it beat Russia 1-0 in their key Group 5 qualifying match Wednesday in Sofia.

Rapid Vienna defender Trifon Ivanov nodded home Hristo Stoichkov's cross from the left in the 55th minute to give the Bulgarians an unassailable four-point lead over Russia with one match to play.

The Bulgarians raised their arms in victory salutes and embraced as loud cheers erupted from the home crowd.

Russia seemed to have the better of the play in the first half with striker Igor Kolyvanov alone having three good scoring chances.

The Bologna striker appeared to have been fouled inside the penalty area early in the second half, but the referee ignored the Russian appeals for a penalty.

Russia pushed forward after conceding the goal but created few clear openings.

Yury Nikiforov's rasping free-kick flashed narrowly wide, and the Russians were mostly restricted to other long-range efforts.

Russia can still qualify for the World Cup if it wins a play-off against another second place team.


Russian soccer authorities docked premier league KamAZ Naberezhniye Chelny six points Tuesday for not paying a transfer fee on time, a league statement said.

The sanction, decided at a meeting of the league's disciplinary committee, sent KamAZ to the bottom of the league. It had been 16th, third from last, with 23 points.

The Professional Football League Association said in the statement that Baltika Kaliningrad had complained about not getting its fee after transferring Yury Shukanov to KamAZ. KamAZ were then given a month to pay the fee.

"But the debt was not paid off in time, as a result of which six points were deducted," it said.

The statement did not say if the club had simply paid the fee late or not at all and did not say if it would face any other punishment.

Four other clubs could also face sanctions after not paying transfer fees, the statement said.

Two clubs were also fined for bad behavior by their fans during recent matches.

Seventh-placed Chernomorets Novorossiisk will have to pay 10 million rubles ($1,700) for failing to keep order during a match against CSKA Moscow in which fans threw cans towards the pitch.

Zenit St Petersburg, in 11th place, were also told to pay 10 million rubles for similar trouble at a match against Zenit Chernomorets, which is not in the premier league.