Ludogorets lost 1:2 away to Astana in a match of the third qualifying round of the Europa League. The meeting was extremely interesting, as the situations did not stop. Ivaylo Petev resorted to a scheme with three in defense - the new addition Sonko Sundberg, Franco Russo and Olivier Verdon. Aslak von Witry and Marcel Heister started in the backs. Claude Gonsalves and Jakub Piotrowski operated in the midfield, and Ruan Cruz led the attack, supported by Kirill Despodov and Bernard Tekpetey.
The match started very strongly for the hosts, with Vorogovski hitting the crossbar after just 2 minutes, taking advantage of Aimbetov's cross and a weak reaction from Franco Russo. After ten minutes, the Astana players made another good attack, but Aimbetov, who escaped from the defense, was unable to pass to the uncovered Darbo. In the 16th minute, Sergio Padt saved with his foot after another good action by Aimbetov.
The Eagles responded quickly, with Despodov crossing, the Astana keeper didn't make a good save, and so did a defender. The ball eventually found its way to Aslak von Witry, who was in a very clear position, but his shot was blocked. A good attack by the Razgrad people followed, ending with Tekpetey's shot, but in the out. In the 25th minute, Urega shot powerfully, but after a ricochet, the ball went over the goal.
Ludogorets took the lead in the 34th minute. Kiril Despodov crossed beautifully from a free kick and Sonko Sundberg headed in his first goal for the Eagles. Then came two controversial situations, both of which Ivaylo Petev's players wanted a penalty - first for a handball, and then for a foul against Tekpetey. However, the referee, Horaciu Fesnik from Romania, remained silent.
Astana equalized in the 41st minute. Then Ludogorets broke through again after a static situation, and after a direct free kick, Zharko Tomasevich scored with a header.
The second part started horribly for the Bulgarians. In the 53rd minute, after a cross from a corner, there was a long play. In the end, the ball was centered to Marochkin, who left absolutely no chance for Sergio Padt with his header. Immediately after that, Kiril Despodov could have scored, but his shot went over the goal.
Astana could have put an end to the dispute after an hour of play. Urega then taunted Von Witry and passed to the completely uncovered Darbo, who made a pass, beating it over the bar.
In the 71st minute, Ludogorets almost equalized. Almost, though, as Ruan Kroos' header was cleared with one hand by home keeper Chondrić.
Ten minutes before the end, the experienced Tomasov tried the reflex of Sergio Padt, who saved this time. In the 82nd minute, Sergio Padt saved Dosmagambetov's shot.