Shkendija suffered a heavy defeat by three goals to null away to Austrian champion Salzburg in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round. The Tetovo based team faces elimination despite having a return leg at home next week.
photo by Kurier.at/APA/KRUGFOTO: Andreas Ulmer and Valmir Nafiu battling for the ball
The match did not start well for the Macedonian champion as Salzburg pressed since the kick-off. After just three minutes of play Israeli striker Mu’nas Dabbur had a great long range shot denied by Kostadin Zahov.
An early penalty goal destroyed the hopes of Shkendija for a goalless start. It came after a very a dumb foul by Ennur Totre. Shkendija made a great clearance to avoid initial danger, then Totre made a bad touch, and when he tried to recover, he tripped up Dabour to give away the penalty. Dabbur took the ball and easily scored from the spot sending Zahov the other way.
Hannes Wolf also tried from distance in the 23rd minute to allow Zahov another save, Xaver Schlager tried on the rebound but Murati reacted just in time to make him send the ball wide. Just three minutes later Musliu blocked a dangerous looking shot with his knee, but the ball then bounces to his arm. Luckily the referee decided not to award another penalty.
The first good chance for the Macedonians came in the 27th minute through who else but Besart Ibraimi. A lucky pass found Ibraimi perfectly, for a brief moment he is 1-on-1 with the keeper, but he slightly lost his footing and his effort was eventually saved. He was tripped a bit from behind by Schlager just enough to lose balance.
Counter attack by Shkendija in the 36th minute that ended with a great scoring chance. Stênio Júnior passed to Ibraimi on the left who than found Bejtulai on the edge of the box on the other side. Bejtulai fired a shot but keeper Cican Stanković made a good save.
Just before half-time Dabbur had another good attempt well denied by Zahov. But the second goal eventually came in the third minute of the injury time. Adili gave away a unnecessary foul on Yabo on the right after which Dabbur scored on a header after he was perfectly served by Zlatko Junuzović.
Despite the shocking end of the first half, Shkendija did not surrender and started attacking after the break. In the 53rd minute Stênio Júnior tried from a tight angle but Stanković once again was on place. Just a minute later Salzburg missed a colossal chance as Wolf went one on one with Zahov but sent the ball wide.
Heavy rain hit the Austrian town and made the play difficult for both teams. In less than ten minutes Samassékou wasted two chances for a third goal, while Nafiu was selfish in the 67th minute with his dribbling and than a shot from a tight angle instead of passing in the box.
In the 72nd minute Zahov once again showed his skills, this time denying Yabo a goal. Three minute later he did the same to Dabbur, again.
Second penalty kick was awarded to Salzburg in the 79th minute. This time Egzon Bejtulai brought down Andreas Ulmer to another naive foul. Malian midfielder Diadié Samassékou stepped in and converted the penalty for a 3:0 lead as Zahov again went on the wrong side.
Just two minutes after the third goal Salzburg was downed to ten men as Zlatko Junuzović collected his second yellow card. Shkendija could use the player advantage as the rain was becoming more stronger and the play was even interrupted in the 87th minute. After couple of minute the play resumed but the pitch was simply impossible for normal play due to the rain water.
With a 3:0 defeat from this first leg Shkendija is practically eliminated from the Champions League despite having a return leg next Tuesday in Skopje.
Red Bull Arena in Salzburg
Salzburg – Shkendija 3:0 (2:0)
Goals: 16′ (pen), 45’+3 Mu’nas Dabbur, 81′ (pen) Diadié Samassékou
Salzburg: 1. Stanković; 17. Ulmer (C), 34. Pongračić, 15. Ramalho, 22. Lainer; 42. Schlager (82′ 45. Mwepu), 13. Wolf, 8. Samassékou, 16. Junuzović; 7. Yabo (73′ 18. Minamino), 9. Dabbur (87′ 20. Daka).
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 16. Murati (76′ 21. Mici), 33. Adili, 6. Musliu, 4. Bejtulai; 8. Totre, 5. Alimi (C); 18. Stênio Júnior (90′ 11. Shefiti), 34. Nafiu, 9. Selmani (61′ 20. Emini); 7. Ibraimi.
Yellow cards: Junuzović, Junuzović (S), Murati, Nafiu (Sh)
Red cards: 83′ Zlatko Junuzović (S)
Referee: Əliyar Ağayev
Assistants: Zeynal Zeynalov & Rza Məmmədov
Fourth official: Orxan Məmmədov