Vardar defeated Malmö 3:1 in the return leg of UEFA CL 2nd qualifying round and advanced through.
Vardar have finally jumped the first obstacle in the UEFA Champions League. After the 1:1 away draw against Malmö, they would have advanced with a goalless draw in Strumica, but went on to win 3:1.
Malmö started the match perfectly after Gachevski fouled Berget in the box. Rosenberg converted the penalty and Malmö had an aggregate lead. Just couple of minutes later, Vardar’s Balotelli sprinted towards the opposition goal when he was tackled by Brorsson and the referee could have easily shown red card. There were no more players between Balotelli and Malmö’s keeper Wiland but the Ukrainian referee chose to show him yellow card. Towards the end of the first half, Malmö could have doubled their lead and made Vardar’s mission impossible, but Yotún’s shot went wide of the goal. In the final moments of the first half, Vardar’s players appealed for a penalty after Pa Konate appeared to have handballed in the box, but Zhabchenko once again remained silent.
That seemed to motivate Vardar’s players in the second half and they started playing far more aggressively. After a series of opportunities, Vardar’s equalizer came through. Juan Felipe crossed in the box after a corner, Grncharov jumped highest and made it 1:1. This gave Vardar wings and just several minutes later it was 2:1. Juan Felipe dribbled from half pitch, went into the box between two players and was fouled and this time Zhabchenko had no option. He pointed to the box, but Felipe’s shot was saved by Wiland. However, the rebound reached Barseghyan who had no problems putting it in the empty net, thus giving Vardar an aggregate lead.
Malmö had no other option but to push forward, leaving plenty of space for Vardar. Brdarovski sent an excellent ball for Balotelli in the 81st minute but his first touch was bad or he could have had one-on-one with Wiland. But, in final moments of the match Nikolov had plenty of space after a Malmö attack and managed to score against them once again, giving Vardar a huge lead and qualification to the next round.
This was Vardar’s first win in any European competition since 2004 and they will likely face København in the 3rd round.
Mladost stadium in Strumica
Goals: 56′ Boban Grncharov, 61′ Tigran Barseghyan, 90’+1 Boban Nikolov – 16′ (pen) Markus Rosenberg
Vardar: Gachevski; Hambardzumyan, Novak, Grncharov, Demiri; Gligorov (46′ Blazhevski), Spirovski; Nikolov, Juan Felipe, Barseghyan (73′ Brdarovski); Balotelli (85′ Musliu).