The New Saints humiliated Shkendija with a 4:0 win in Wales and almost tied the score. The Macedonians won 5:0 in the first leg and thanks to scoring one goal more advance into the next round of the Champions League qualifiers.
photo by Gareth Hughes: Dean Ebbe celebrates opening goal
Because of the 5:0 win in the first match, manager Kjatip Osmani decided to rest some of the regular players such as Besart Ibraimi, Marjan Radeski, Mevlan Murati and Shqiprim Taipi who started the first leg.
Shkendija started well in the match but a 15 minute opener gave the Welsh team the necessary boost. Dean Ebbe took a shot inside the area and scored despite keeper Zahov getting a piece of the ball. From that moment on Shkendija did not look composed, while TNS was playing with much more urgency and energy.
The hosts created couple of chances before eventually scoring a second goal. It came in the 30th minute after a counter attack when Daniel Redmond scored from close range with a sliding effort.
Only five minutes later and the nightmare started for Shkendija. Blaine Hudson took a free kick sending the ball into the box where Benjamin Cabango was left alone and had no problems sending the ball behind Zahov.
With the score of 3:0 the teams went on half-time. A much needed break for the Macedonian players who gave a terrible performance lacking professionalism after the huge win in Skopje.
The New Saints continued attacking and creating chances after the break while despite introducing top goalscorer Besart Ibraimi, Shkendija failed to make a serious effort apart from two chances by Ibraimi. The Welsh almost scored a fourth goal in the 57th minute. A good counter by them after Alimi was dispossessed off the ball. Zahov left his goal to make an initial stop, while the rebound opportunity was cleared off the line by a Shkendija defender for a corner.
Shkendija was maintaining the 5:3 aggregate win and managed to reach the next stage despite eventually conceding a fourth goal. It was too late for the Welsh champion as it came deep into the stoppage time. A big BRAVO to the TNS players who never gave up and believed. Ultimately, they come up one goal short. All of that after getting smashed 5:0 in the first leg in Skopje.
Before conceding the last goal, Marjan Radeski injured his knee and had to be take of on a stretcher. It didn’t look good but the medical team will release news in the following days about the severity of the injury.
Click here to see the photo gallery of the match.
Shkendija advanced, but it does not feel joyful at all. They won 5:0 in the first game, only to lose 0:4 in the next match. This could heavily affect their psyche for the second round matches against the winner of the clash between the champions of Georgia and Moldova. In their first leg, Torpedo beat Sheriff with 2:1.
Park Hall stadium in Oswestry
The New Saints – Shkendija 4:0 (3:0); 4:5 agg.
Goals: 15′ Dean Ebbe, 30′ Daniel Redmond, 35′ Benjamin Cabango, 90’+6 Kurtis Byrne
The New Saints: 1. Harrison (C); 3. Marriott, 5. Cabango, 12. Hudson, 22. Lewis; 4. Holland (88′ 21. Byrne), 6. Routledge; 10. Redmond (83′ 11. Cieślewicz), 23. Edwards, 14. Mullan; 17. Ebbe (56′ 9. Draper).
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 3. Wakili, 33. Adili, 6. Musliu, 4. Bejtulai; 5. Alimi (C), 17. Zejnulai (88. 29. Cheshmedjiev); 18. Stênio Júnior, 20. Emini, 77. Todorovski (46′ 14. Radeski); 11. Shefiti (46′ 7. Ibraimi).
Yellow cards: Routledge, Mullan, Harrison, Marriott (TNS), Bejtulai, Musliu (Sh)
Red cards: /
Referee: Pavel Orel
Assistants: Petr Blažej & Petr Caletka
Fourth official: Ondřej Lerch