SOFIA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Bulgaria coach Petar Hubchev lambasted the referee as a “disgrace” after his side’s 3-2 win over Sweden in their home World Cup qualifier.
Bulgaria ended a 50-year winless streak against the Swedes on Thursday and stayed on course to reach the global showpiece for the first time since 1998.
Hubchev, who was sent to the stands by Italian referee Paolo Tagliavento after protesting a decision in the first half, felt Bulgaria had been harshly treated throughout the game in Sofia.
“This time I will allow myself to comment on the referee – he was a disgrace,” the 53-year-old Hubchev, a member of the Bulgarian team that reached the 1994 World Cup semi-finals, said.
“Who are we to have claims, we’re not a football powerhouse, but mocking us in such a way ... He was disgraceful.
“In the first 20 minutes he had told two of our players that he would send them off, he awarded a penalty, you say (if it was a penalty) and a number of fouls.
“But we managed to win despite the referee.”
Hubchev’s side climbed to third in Europe’s Group A on 12 points, one point behind Sweden. France, who thrashed Netherlands 4-0 on Thursday, top the standings on 16.
Bulgaria visit Netherlands on Sunday, while Sweden are away to Belarus. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ian Ransom)