Bulgaria’s most successful club PFC CSKA Sofia have dethroned three European title holders as the Vasil Levski became famous as a graveyard for champions:
1973/74 second round: CSKA Sofia 2-0 AFC Ajax (aet; 2-1 on aggregate)
Having lost the first leg 1-0 in Amsterdam, the Reds erased the deficit in the 68th minute when Dimitar Marashliev headed in Georgi Denev’s cross. With penalties looming, substitute Stefan Mihaylov became CSKA’s unlikely hero with an unstoppable shot four minutes from time.
1980/81 First round CSKA Sofia 1-0 Nottingham Forest FC (2-0 on aggregate)
Led by the legendary Brian Clough, Forest arrived in Sofia as hot favourites following back-to-back European Champion Clubs’ Cup triumphs. But at the Vasil Levski, CSKA dominated the game and won through a single goal from winger Tsvetan Yonchev. Two weeks later CSKA prevailed again, 1-0 at the City Ground, to end Forest’s love affair with the competition.
1981/82 quarter-finals CSKA Sofia 2-0 Liverpool FC (aet; 2-1 on aggregate)
Having lost 6-1 on aggregate to Liverpool a year before, the Bulgarian champions restricted the Merseysiders to just a 1-0 win at Anfield, setting the stage for probably the Army Club’s greatest European night. Two goals from their current coach Stoycho Mladenov, the second in extra time, sent the crowd delirious as CSKA earned a famous victory.
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