1-1 the final result away to Bulgaria. Could not have asked for a better performance prior to the dubious penalty call made by the French thief refereeing the game. The last few minutes were shaky due to the complexion of the game being completely altered by that horrendous call.
And a reminder, we were playing without both Jovetic and Savic. I don't know if either of them will be ready for the English on Monday night, but I expect an absolute dogfight in Podgorica.
Bulgaria 1-1 Montenegro: Stefan Mugosa strikes as visitors send out a warning to England ahead of Euro 2020 qualifying clash
Todor Nedelev equalised with a penalty as Bulgaria drew 1-1 with Montenegro
Stefan Mugosa's goal in the 50th minute had given Montenegro the lead
Montenegro return to action on Monday night when they host England
The minnows of Montenegro sent out a warning to Gareth Southgate’s England on Friday night by beginning their Euro 2020 campaign with a creditable draw in Sofia.
Stefan Mugosa scored a classic opening goal after 50 minutes to give his nation of only 600,000 people a huge lift ahead of England’s visit to Podgorica on Monday, even though the hosts levelled late on through Todor Nedelev’s controversial penalty.
Southgate will note with admiration how Mugosa, of Moldovan club side Sheriff Tiraspol, turned two Bulgarian defenders inside the penalty area before planting a composed low finish into the bottom right-hand corner.
Stefan Mugosa put Montenegro ahead in the 50th minute in their 1-1 draw with Bulgaria
Todor Nedelev celebrates after equalising from the penalty spot for Bulgaria on Friday
Nedelev netted a controversial penalty to ensure Bulgaria took a point from the game
Bulgaria rescued a point after 82 minutes following a foul just outside the box by Vladimir Jovovic on Stanislav Kostov, which was given as a spot kick.
It was a night where The Brave Falcons, as Montenegro’s team are known, lived up their nickname.
Without their two best-known players, former Manchester City pair Stefan Jovetic and Stefan Savic, due to injury, the visitors showed plenty of defensive resilience before taking the lead.
Levante midfielder Nikola Vukcevic fed a key pass into Mugosa and after his exemplary strike, the goalscorer sprinted away to celebrate with the small band of travelling supporters who braved the 700-mile round trip.
Montenegro, No46 in the Fifa rankings, have held England in three of their four previous encounters and won’t roll over easily next week.
Bulgaria had the lion’s share of opportunities before half-time but couldn’t breach a determined rearguard that fought for everything.
Montenegro goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic, who plays in the French second division for Lorient, clawed away a free-kick by Nedelev while Marko Vesovic was in the right place to boot away a header by Vasil Bozhikov off the line.
Mugosa scored his seventh goal for Montenegro to put his team in the lead in Sofia
Montenegro's Adam Marusic heads the ball as Ivelin Popov (R) watches on in the qualifier
Mugosa attempts to win the ball back for Montenegro as he battles with Vasil Bozhikov
At the other end, Mirko Ivanic was denied one-on-one by Bulgaria goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov - son of wig-wearing 1994 World Cup hero Boris.
Bulgaria haven’t been to a major finals since Euro 2004 and a sparse crowd underlined their recent travails.
But their second-half pressure entitled them to an equaliser and both countries will fancy grabbing one of the two qualifying places from Group A that also includes England, Czech Republic and Kosovo.
Indeed, Bulgaria might have snatched a comeback win in injury-time when 17-year-old substitute Martin Minchev flashed a shot inches past the far post on his international debut.
Bulgaria's Spas Delev controls the ball while being put under pressure by Marko Simic
Bulgaria's Galin Ivanov is challenged by Montenegro's Marusic during the Euro 2020 qualifier
Bulgaria midfielder (R) Ivelin Popov tries to find the net but is thwarted by Danijel Petkovic
Montenegro will now hope for better injury news ahead of their date with England. Jovetic has already withdrawn from the squad but Atletico Madrid centre-half Savic, who won a Premier League title under Roberto Mancini in 2012, will make a last-ditch attempt to face Southgate’s men by testing his hamstring injury over the weekend.
He watched Friday night’s draw from the VIP section of the Vasil Levski stadium but now plans to resume training with his team-mates back in their capital.
Bulgaria missed their prized asset Kiril Despodov of Cagliari with injury and lacked cutting edge without him.
The home side, who had Accrington Stanley goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov on the bench, enjoyed 57% possession and made 10 attempts on Montenegro’s goal.