Soccer-Thirty-three arrested ahead of incident-packed Sofia derby


SOFIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Thirty-three fans were arrested for public order offences before Levski Sofia beat bitter city rivals CSKA in a Bulgarian Cup second leg penalty shootout, police said on Thursday.

Levski, who have won the competition 25 times, booked their place in the quarter-finals by winning 7-6 on penalties after both games had ended goalless.

It was also the last major football match in Bulgaria this year.

A heavy police presence surrounded the game between the most popular clubs in the Balkan country. Emotions ran even higher than normal and the penalties were followed by a mass brawl on the pitch.

The fighting started seconds after Dutch defender Dustley Mulder scored Levski's decisive spot kick. CSKA's French-born Senegalese centre back Jackson Mendy was one of the most active players in the melee.

CSKA reacted with fury earlier when referee Tsvetan Krastev failed to award a penalty in the second half for what looked an obvious handball by Levski striker Dimitar Makriev.

"It was another outrage against a great club like CSKA," club president Alexander Tomov told reporters. "There was a clear penalty as the ball hit the hand of their player and it was going to be a shot on target.

"Our team completely outplayed Levski, we had at least six or seven scoring chances." (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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