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Bulgarian side try to make up the numbers but figures don't add up

A Bulgarian third division match was abandoned after less than a minute last Sunday when injury- and suspension-hit Gigant Belene were reduced to six men shortly after kick-off.

Gigant, who also had a home game against Chavdar Byala Slatina scrapped after four minutes in similar circumstances last October, made the 200km trip to the north-western town of Belogradchik for the match but could only field seven players.

Referee Boycho Boychev was forced to abandon the match after less than a minute when Gigant's Momchil Vraikov informed him he had picked up an injury and could not continue. Teams have to field at least seven players according to the rules of the game.

Vraikov is a former referee who was given a life ban from officiating in 2007 due to a series of blunders.

"It's a pity because it was our first home game after the winter break and our fans were eager to see the team in action despite the rainy conditions," said Balkan Belogradchik coach Emil Georgiev. "We worked hard to prepare for the match and we wanted to play football ... it's a shame."

Balkan Belogradchik were awarded a 3-0 win.