The new season in the Macedonian top flight started with two entertaining matches on Saturday and the rest three on Sunday. Shkendija and Vardar played a great 2:2 derby, while the encounter between Rabotnichki and Renova was a real goals galore ending with a 4:3 win for the visitors. Sileks and Shkupi shared the points with penalty goals, Akademija Pandev beat Makedonija GjP with a stoppage time penalty, while Pobeda celebrated a lone goal win over Belasica.
photo by Kocho S.Photography: Ennur Totre shakes hands with Goran Popov as other players do the same
If we judge from the opening matches, it should be a great season. Nine goals were scored in the two matches scheduled for Saturday to mark the kick-off of the 2018/19 season in the Macedonian first league.
Shkendija entered the derby match tired from Wednesday’s Champions League road clash with Salzburg, while Vardar had his players well rested after facing early elimination from the Europa League.
After just five minutes of play the dead lock was broken. Armenian national team attacker Tigran Barseghyan fired a great shot from around 20 meters from left giving Zahov no chance to intervene.
Thirteen minutes into the game and Shkendija was awarded a penalty kick. Izair Emini was with the ball in the box when first Novak kicked him and later Toshevski tripped him. Besart Ibraimi, the top goalscorer of the last three season stepped in to take the penalty but only hit the crossbar.
Ibraimi recovered for the missed penalty when he scored a direct free kick goal nine minutes into the second half. But another problem occurred for the hosts as captain Armend Alimi collected his second yellow card and had to leave the field in 64th minute.
However, Shkendija still managed to turn the result around. Substitute Besmir Bojku fired a shot from inside the box, the ball was going straight to keeper Filip Gachevski who reacted badly allowing Bojku to celebrate a goal.
Five minutes from time visiting captain Goran Popov took responsability and scored an equalizer. It was a great goal with a precise shot from around thirty meters in the right bottom angle of Zahov’s goal.
Gradski stadium in Tetovo
Shkendija – Vardar 2:2 (0:1)
Goals: 54′ Besart Ibraimi, 73′ Besmir Bojku – 5′ Tigran Barseghyan, 85′ Goran Popov
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 21. Mici, 6. Musliu, 4. Bejtulai, 16. Murati (82′ 33. Adili); 17. Zejnulai (46′ 8. Totre), 5. Alimi (C); 18. Stênio Júnior, 20. Emini, 34. Nafiu (67′ 19. Bojku); 7. Ibraimi.
Vardar: 90. Gachevski; 77. Brdarovski, 3. Popov (C), 21. Novak, 2. Toshevski; 8. Micevski (87′ 23. Najdovski), 5. Bitang; 11. Barseghyan, 10. Juffo (78′ 50. Berisha), 70. Cvetanovski (70′ 24. Popzlatanov); 7. Lira.
Yellow cards: Nafiu, Alimi, Mici, Alimi, Murati, Emini, Stênio Júnior, Ibraimi, Musliu (Sh), Toshevski, Bitang, Barseghyan, Gachevski, Popov (V)
Red cards: 64′ Armend Alimi (Sh)
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (Skopje)
Early in the 4th minute Alban Sulejmani scored a similar goal like Barseghyan in the derby mentioned above. From the edge of the box on the left side he sent a precise shot leaving Bozhinovski powerless.
Renova doubled the lead after a corner kick by Sulejmani in the 12th minute. Jusufi scored on a header as the home defense made a clumsy attempt to clear the ball.
Rabotnichki got back in game with a beautiful goal by Petar Petkovski in the 23rd minute.
Only three minute after the break and Renova got back the two goals difference. Leon Najdovski made an unbelievable mistake in the box after which Vlatko Stojanovski dribbled past the home keeper to score to empty net.
The Reds quickly recovered as captain Ostoja Stjepanovikj scored from the spot.
Thirteen minutes later Renova cemented the win with Stojanovski’s second goal. Serbian substitute Nikola Pantović was the one who created the goal as he fist easily moved around Mitrev to than perfectly serve Stojanovski at the goal line. Shortly after his second goal Stojanovski missed a great opportunity to become a hat-trick hero.
Six minutes after coming from the bench Aleksandar Ristevski made the finish exiting as he scored an own gola with a header following Bopesu’s cross inside the box.
National Arena Philip II of Macedon in Skopje
Rabotnichki – Renova 3:4 (1:2)
Goals: 23′ Petar Petkovski, 55′ (pen) Ostoja Stjepanovikj, 86′ (og) Aleksandar Ristevski – 4′ Alban Sulejmani, 12′ Fatjon Jusufi, 48′, 68′ Vlatko Stojanovski
Rabotnichki: 1. Bozhinovski; 6. Herrera, 23. Najdovski (52′ 20. Sharkoski), 4. Mitrev, 17. Stević (89′ 9. Chinedu); 11. Bopesu, 10. Stjepanovikj (C), 19. Stankovski (46′ 99. F. Petkovski); 8. Stevanović; 7. P. Petkovski, 27. Nedeljković.
Renova: 41. Kobetić; 24. Abdula, 4. Zuka, 18. Mishkovski, 14. Sulejmani (60′ 15. Gafuri), 7. Sadiki, 8. Jusufi (67′ 29. Pantović), 22. Fetai, 10. Nuhi (C), 16. Stojanovski (80′ 2. Ristevski), 11. Ramadani.
Yellow cards: Herrera (Ra), Zuka, Sadiki (Re)
Red cards: /
Referee: Marjan Gocevski (Strumica)
The other three games were played a day later, on Sunday. Pobeda managed to grab the three points thanks to a lone goal win over newly promoted Belasica. Nigerian striker Kyrian Nwabueze was the one to decide the winner with his goal in the 70th minute. Belasica played a first league match after 12 years of absence, but will have to wait for the first points.
Pod Tumbe Kafe stadium in Bitola
Pobeda – Belasica 1:0 (0:0)
Goals: 70′ Kyrian Nwabueze
Pobeda: 12. Tofiloski (C); 2. Timovski, 4. Jaćimović, 13. Dragarski, 18. Efremov (46′ 7. Kalanoski), 20. Markoski, 21. J. Naumoski (60′ 25. Spirkoski), 17. Mustafov, 5. Tanushev, 8. Karcheski (65′ 16. Isaevski), 9. Nwabueze.
Belasica: 1. Vujanac; 3. Milushev, 2. Tashev, 5. Djonov, 6. V. Serafimovski, 14. Mitevski (C), 17. Stojanov (50′ 10. Todorov), 21. J. Serafimovski, 19. Bozhinov (62′ 8. Sulev), 9. Gorgiev (83′ 7. Naumchevski), 28. Baldovaliev.
Yellow cards: Markoski, Mustafov, Isaevski, Spirkoski (P), Djonov (B)
Red cards: /
Referee: Dejan Jakimovski (Skopje)
Deep into the injury time Akademija Pandev was awarded a penalty kick to edge the other newcomer, Makedonija GjP. Doriev successfully converted the penalty sending the Lions home disappointed as they almost won a point.
Kukush stadium in Turnovo
Akademija Pandev – Makedonija GjP 2:1 (1:0)
Goals: 42′ Gjorgi Stoilov, 90’+3 (pen) Ljupcho Doriev – 49′ Dejan Tanturovski
Akademija Pandev: 1. Čubraković; 3. Atanaskoski, 4. Dimov, 5. Iliev, 22. Tomovski (55′ 55. Stojchevski), 7. Ivanov, 8. Stoilov, 11. Mihailov, 14. Doriev, 10. Milovanovikj (68′ 9. Mishov), 19. Pandev (C) (68′ 17. Krstovski).
Makedonija GjP: 12. Jovanovski; 2. Leovigildo, 4. Mishevski, 5. Stojkovski, 13. Pecov, 20. Ademi (80′ 10. Nastevski), 30. Robson, 21. Bilali (84′ 8. Kolekjeski), 18. Jeferson (46′ 24. Tanturovski), 7. Bozhinovski (C), 11. Kirovski.
Yellow cards: Mishov (AP), Leovigildo, Stojkovski, Robson, Kirovski, Jovanovski (M)
Red cards: /
Referee: Jovan Kachevski (Struga)
Sileks and Shkupi shared the points in a 1:1 draw in Kratovo with both goals coming from the spot. The hosts were the one to take the lead with the visitors equalizing despite being a man down as Ermedin Adem collected his second yellow card in the 59th minute.
Sileks stadium in Kratovo
Sileks – Shkupi 1:1 (1:0)
Goals: 36′ (pen) Louise Parfait – 70′ (pen) Bazhe Ilijoski
Sileks: 1. Spasojević; 11. Ristovski, 3. Blagojević, 5. Drasković, 14. Milenkovski, 13. Parfait (82′ 6. Grozdanoski), 8. Duranski (C), 10. Milosavljević (62′ 45. Aleksovski), 21. Dodev (71′ 22. Desnikj), 9. Mbella, 16. Panovski.
Shkupi: 1. Zendeli (C); 16. Krivanjeva (46′ 8. Zango), 4. Bilali, 3. Tipurić, 88. Adem; 19. Vujčić; 14. Broja, 23. Stojkoski (90′ 7. Jahja); 15. Basilio, 18. Ilijoski, 9. Suhejlj (74′ 25. Veliu).
Yellow cards: Mbella, Duranski, Dodev (S), Adem, Adem, Basilio (Sh)
Red cards: 59′ Ermedin Adem (Sj)
Referee: Dimitar Mechkarovski (Skopje)