Lone goal win for Shkendija in the first leg of the Champions League second qualifying round encounter against Moldovan champion Sheriff.
photo by KF Shkendija: Besart Ibraimi celebrates the goal
Alimi was the first to make an effort toward the Moldovan goal. Than the visitors threatened through Badibanga in the 20th minute whose shot was well saved by Zahov. That was their biggest chance in the first half. A minute later Emini missed the target.
The dead lock was broken in the 24th minute coming from a direct free kick. Who else could score but Besart Ibraimi. His shot went just near the wall in the opposite angle where Zvonimir Mikulić was taken by surprise.
Stênio Júnior missed a great opportunity to double the lead in the 36th minute when he beat the keeper but Ante Kulušić cleared the ball just before the goal line.
In the 41st minute another great chance and once again it was Stênio Júnior who failed to score. Egzon Bejtulai perfectly found him in the box when The Brazilian went into a dive heading the ball into the far post.
Just after the second half kick-off Ibraimi made a solo run, dribbled past the Moldovan defense but his shot was denied by Mikulić. Emini could have scored on the rebound but his reaction was clumsy. Few minutes later Zahov made a tremendous save on Kapić’s shot.
Sheriff press more in the rest of the game but besides few attempts failed to equalize. Shkendija opted to keep the lead and try to doubled it through counter-attacks.
The lone goal win isn’t a high advantage but gives hope that Shkendija may advance especially with a goal scored away in Moldova next Tuesday.
National Arena Philip II of Macedon in Skopje
Shkendija – Sheriff 1:0 (1:0)
Goals: 24′ Besart Ibraimi
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 16. Murati, 33. Adili, 6. Musliu, 4. Bejtulai; 8. Totre (76′ 27. Taipi), 5. Alimi (C); 18. Stênio Júnior, 20. Emini (86′ 29. Cheshmedjiev), 9. Selmani (65′ 11. Shefiti); 7. Ibraimi.
Sheriff: 20. Mikulić; 15. Sristiano, 35. Kulušić, 90. Posmac, 55. Sušić (C); 19. Palić, 88. Kapić (80′ 7. Gerson Rodrigues), 77. Kendysh; 9. Jô Santos (88′ 32. Oancea), 45. Kamara (73′ 97. Boiciuc), 39. Badibanga.
Yellow cards: Stênio Júnior, Murati (Shk), Kulušić (She)
Red cards: /
Referee: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen
Assistants: Dennis Rasmussen & Victor Skytte
Fourth official: Michael Tykgaard