Spain Leads Bulgaria 2-0 at Half
LENS, France (AP) _ Luis Enrique drew a penalty and scored a goal to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Bulgaria at halftime in their final Group D match Wednesday.
Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia looked on as Spain demonstrated speed and skill unseen in its first two World Cup matches against Nigeria and Paraguay.
Fernando Hiero converted a penalty in the sixth minute _ sending Bulgaria’s goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov to his right by placing a shot into the opposite side of the net _ after defender Ivaylo Iordanov brought down Luis Enrique as he broke into the Bulgarian box from the left.
Twelve minutes later, Joseba Etxeberria raced down the right to cross to the Barcelona all-rounder, who beat two Bulgarian defenders to send the ball from 8 meters past the advancing Jordanov into the far, right side of the goal.
Spain pressed on with a series of flowing attacks, dominating most of the half with a pace Bulgaria’s aging veterans could not match.
Spain’s nearly made it 3-0 in the 39th minute, when Francisco Morientes hit the crossbar and the ball bounced to Luis Enrique, whose shot from 8 meters was deflected by the goalkeeper.
Bulgaria’s star attackers Hristo Stoickov and Emil Kostadinov were marked handily by Rafael Alkorta and Miguel Nadal, who allowed very little past them.
Bulgaria’s best opportunity came on a fast break in the 34th minute, when Stoichkov heeled the ball to Luboslav Penev, whose shot was blocked by keeper Andoni Zubizarreta. Stoickov pounced on the rebound but his shot was headed away by Nadal.
Spain _ Andoni Zubizarreta, Carlos Aguilera, Rafael Alkorta, Miguel Angel Nadal, Sergi Barjuan, Fernando Hierro, Guillermo Amor, Joseba Etxeberria, Luis Enrique Martinez, Fernando Morientes, Alfonso Perez.
Bulgaria _ Zdravko Zdravkov, Radostin Kischishev, Trifon Ivanov, Ivaylo Iordanov, Gocho Guintchev, Krassimir Balakov, Anatoli Nankov (Luboslav Penev, 28th minute), Daniel Borimirov, Georgi Batchev, Emil Kostadinov, Hristo Stoichkov.
Referee: Mario Van Der Ende (Netherlands)