Hristo Stoichkov-led Bulgaria restored their reputation by thrashing a Hong Kong League XI 3-0 in the Carlsberg Cup third-place play-off yesterday at the Hong Kong Stadium. Following their 3-1 loss to African champions Egypt on Tuesday, Bulgaria got down to business from the opening whistle. Former European Player of the Year and World Cup top-scorer Stoichkov, almost non-existent up front on Tuesday, regained his scoring power as he fired home a 30-metre shot when the match was only five minutes old. Bulgaria's coach Dimitar Dimitrov said he was delighted with his team's victory. 'We played badly against Egypt but we played well today. I can't be more happy about the score-line. 'It is the first win since I took charge and I hope it won't be the last.' The Bulgarian team travel to Shenzhen for a friendly match next week before playing their European Championship qualifier clash away to Luxembourg on March 31. Bulgaria's chances for Euro 2000 are on the line as their first three qualifiers resulted in defeats against Poland and Sweden and a draw with England. Hong Kong League XI captain Ricky Cheng Siu-chung said Bulgaria were a different team yesterday, working hard on their tackles in midfield and defence. 'They also made good use of the width of the pitch and we had problems containing them on the wing,' Cheng said. It was young striker Hristo Iovov who consolidated their lead in the 23th minute when he wrong-footed Martin Kuhl and Dimitre Kalkanov outside the box before curling the ball into the net. Coach Dimitrov substituted Stoichkov 16 minutes after the break but it did not diminish their attack. Iovov dashed Hong Kong's hopes in the 72th minute as he capitalised on a Gary McKeown mistake to score his second goal. Bulgaria midfielder Gueorgui Batchev stole McKeown's poor pass and sent an unmarked Iovov on a solo run and Iovov made no mistake against Hong Kong goalkeeper Peter Guthrie. Teams Bulgaria (4-4-2): Dimita Ivankov, Radostin Kishishev, Zlatomir Zagortchitch, Ilian Stoyanov, Zlatko Yankov, Ilia Grouev, Ilian Iliev, Gueorgui Antonov, Stilian Petrov, Hristo Stoichkov, Hristo Iovov. Hong Kong (4-4-2): Victor Derbounov, Cristiano Cordeiro, Dimitre Kalkanov, Martin Kuhl, Gary McKeown, Gerald Ambassa Guy, Tam Siu-wai, Ricky Cheng Siu-chung, Lee Kin-wo, Michael Midwood, Tomy Giacomeli.