Popov against Mkhitaryan; photo: Yahoo!

Armenia – Macedonia 4:1

Popov against Mkhitaryan; photo: Yahoo!Macedonia suffered a heavy 4:1 road defeat against Armenia after being totally outplayed and finishing the game with 10 men once Velice Sumulikoski was shown a red card.

A terrible performance by the Macedonian national team who finished the game by playing in three different formations.  Toshack began the game with a 4-3-3, then moved to a 4-2-3-1 at the start of the 2nd half, before shifting to a 3-4-2 shortly after Sumulikoski was shown a red card.  However, none of the formations worked as Armenia was hungrier and recording the deserving victory.

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Armenia created the first chance in the 9th minute when Yura Movsisyan hit the outside of the post with a shot from the edge of the area.  Two minutes later, Macedonian striker Filip Ivanovski should have done better on a cross from the right but his sliding attempt barely missed the ball.

Macedonia did fine in the first 25 minutes and had more of the possession but then Armenia took over, especially after they took the lead in the 28th minute.  Yura Movsisyan went past Nikolce Noveski easily, then got away from a sliding challenge by Vance Sikov, before setting up his teammate Marcos Pizzelli who scored an easy goal from close range.  Several minutes later, it was 2:0 for Armenia after the Macedonian players failed to close down Henrik Mkhitaryan who had space in front of him before unleashing a great shot that went past the diving keeper Martin Bogatinov.

Seconds later, Ivan Trickovski had a chance on the other end but the keeper closed him down well and Tricko’s effort went over the goal.  Just before halftime, Nikolce Noveski attempted a long range shot that gave some problems to the Armenian keeper but the ball was eventually cleared.

At the start of the 2nd half, Toshack did not like the 4-3-3 formation so he replaced Muarem by bringing on Mario Gjurovski.  That change shifted the formation to a 4-2-3-1 just like in the matches last month.  Then, in the span of a minute, each team missed a good opportunity.  First, Mkhitaryan mishit a shot from a good position and the ball went wide of the goal while going the other way, Filip Ivanovski was through on goal but his finishing was poor as his effort went over the goal.

Things only got worse in the 53rd minute when Velice Sumulikoski was shown his second yellow card of the game for a bad foul, thus leading to a red card.  Sumulikoski refused to leave the pitch for a brief moment and could be handed additional discipline after he had some words for both the main referee and the 4th referee on his way to the dressing room.

Macedonia was not into the game at this point and Armenia should have scored another goal in the 57th minute but Mkhitaryan’s shot from a good position was saved by Bogatinov.  In the 69th minute, Armenia scored the third goal when Gevorg Ghazaryan scored a goal from close range after a good cross from the right by Yura Movsisyan.  The cross went just over Sikov before falling perfectly to Ghazaryan who did the rest by scoring the goal.

Armenia was dominating at this stage as they had several more chances but one shot took a slight deflection before grazing the post while another shot went just inches wide of the left goal post.  Yura Movsisyan had a big chance in the 85th minute when he went around the keeper but his touch was a tad long and the ball went out of play.

Vance Sikov scored a consolation goal for Macedonia in the 86th minute when he used his size advantage to score with a header following a corner kick from the right by Vlade Lazarevski.  However, that was not the last goal of the game as Igor Mitreski then made a lazy pass for Nikolce Noveski in the 90th minute which was intercepted and it led to an easy goal by striker Artur Sarkisov who went around Bogatinov before scoring into the empty net.  Not a good memory for Mitreski who said he will retire after these two concluding games in EURO 2012 qualifying.

Video of the goals:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=929wInO_aLE

Hanrapetakan Stadium in Yerevan, Armenia
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (Austria)
Scorers: 28′ Pizzelli, 33′ Mkhitaryan, 69′ Ghazaryan, 90′ Sarkisov (A); 86′ Sikov (M).
Yellow Cards: 66′ Mkrtchyan (A); 28′ Popov, 32′ M. Ivanovski (M).
Red Cards: 53′ Sumulikoski (second yellow card)
Armenia: Berezovski, Yuspashyan, Hovsepyan (c), Mkrtchyan (75′ Sarkisov), Yedigaryan, Pizzelli (63′ Manucharyan), Ghazaryan (83′ Malakyan), Movsisyan, Aleksanyan, Mkhitaryan, Hayrapetyan.
Macedonia: Bogatinov, Georgievski (51′ Lazarevski), Sikov, Noveski, Popov, Sumulikoski, Demiri, Muarem (46′ Gjurovski), Trickovski, M. Ivanovski, F. Ivanovski (60′ Mitreski).

To view the match report, click here.

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