CSKA Sofia thrashed city rivals Lokomotiv 4-0 on Thursday to move up to second place in the Bulgarian championship level on points with surprise leaders Ludogorets and Levski Sofia.
The top three all have 45 points from 19 matches and are only separated by goal difference with newcomers Ludogorets, based in Razgrad, a town of less than 35,000 people, aiming for the first league title in their 67-year history.
Anton Karachanakov put CSKA in front with a spectacular curling shot midway through the first half and their Cameroon midfielder Njongo Priso doubled the lead 15 minutes from time.
Captain Ivan Bandalovski then made it 3-0 with a thunderous strike from the edge of the area in the 82nd before Brazilian striker Junior Moraes wrapped up the win with his ninth goal this season after capitalising on a defensive blunder.
CSKA coach Stoycho Mladenov was left hoarse after urging on his players at the Bulgarska Armiya stadium and his assistant Anatoli Nankov replaced him at the post-match news conference.
"I would like to apologise but he [Mladenov] can't speak," Nankov said.
Earlier, Cherno More Varna striker Miroslav Manolov got the fastest goal ever scored in the Bulgarian league after just six seconds with the first of a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at Montana.
Statisticians said the previous record was held by another Cherno More player - Brazilian Marcos da Silva, who scored after 12 seconds against Chernomorets Burgas in 2007.
Ludogorets had slumped to only their second defeat this season on Wednesday, losing 1-0 at Lokomotiv Plovdiv while Levski won 3-0 at Slavia in the oldest Sofia derby.
Champions Litex Lovech, coached by Hristo Stoichkov, were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Beroe Stara Zagora after five straight victories and are fifth with 38 points, two behind Chernomorets Burgas who won 4-0 at second-bottom Kaliakra.