Unexpected but true. Shkendija is out of the Champions League after getting defeated at home by the Estonian champion. Kalju advances on away goals rule.
photo by KF Shkendija Tetovo: Igor Subbotin makes a sliding tackle on Gledi Mici
Shkendija’s manager Kjatip Osmani opted for exactly the same line-up from the first leg in Tallinn: Zahov; Murati, Bejtulai, Musliu, Mici; Husmani, Alimi, Totre; Radeski, A. Ibraimi, B. Ibraimi.
After five minutes of play the Estonians shocked the Macedonian champion. Klein took a free kick, keeper Zahov reacted terribly by missing the ball in the air so Italian defender Uggè scored on a header. Just what Kalju needed, an early goal to eliminate Shkendija’s lead from the opening leg.
Shkendija had a lot of possession throughout the rest of the first half, but only few quality looks. Kalju knew how to play in order to close every entrance towards their goal and that frustrated the home players. Shkendija was again lacking quality in the final third. Just like last week, they looked totally incapable of scoring in open play against the Estonians.
A free kick effort by Besart Ibraimi in the 40th minute was the best chance for leveling the score. His shot went just under the crossbar but Londak made a great save.
Osmani must have chewed the players out during the halftime break as Shkendija showed a different face in the second half. Also, he opted for a more attacking play as Nafiu was introduced instead of Husmani. In the 50th minute again Besart tried from a free kick and this time he hit the post with Radeski badly mishitting the ball on the rebound.
Five minutes later Mici sent a powerful volley that got stopped by Londrak. The ball then spin backwards towards the goal, but the keeper recovered quickly and stopped the ball before it could cross the line. Shortly after that a huge miss by Agim. He had a look with an open goal in front of him, but he totally mishit his shot and it went way to the left for a throw-in.
Eventually the equalized came in the 62nd minute after visiting captain Uggè played with hand in his box. Just like in the first leg, Agim Ibraimi converted the penalty. He put his shot exactly the same way beating Londrak once again.
In the 68th minute another misfortune for Shkendija. This time it was Agim who hit the top of the crossbar on a curling shot from the edge of the area. Just couple of minutes later and Kalju almost took the lead again after Paur missed from close range after a nice cross. His sliding effort went inches wide.
Huge opportunity for the hosts in the 78th minute. Agim was leading a counter attack and beautifully served substitute Stênio Júnior who got alone with Londrak and reacted poorly shooting right at the keeper. He could also pass the ball right to Nafiu who was alone in front of an empty net. That would have been a goal.
Stunner in the first injury time! Kalju scored a winner after a throw-in from the left side, Shkendija initially cleared, but what followed was a funky and perfect back-heel pass which resulted in a close range header by Brazilian Liliu. the Estonians advance, Shkendija is eliminated!
With the way the Shkendija players played in this two matches they did not deserve to go through. Two goals, both from the spot, against a weak opponent. The club’s board have every right to be very angered after so much money spent.
National Arena Toshe Proeski in Skopje
Shkendija – Kalju 1:2 (0:1); 2:2 agg.
Goals: 62′ (pen) Agim Ibraimi – 5′ Maximiliano Uggè, 90’+1 Liliu
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 16. Murati, 4. Bejtulai, 6. Musliu, 3. Mici; 90. Husmani (46′ 23. Nafiu), 5. Alimi (C), 8. Totre; 14. Radeski, 10. A. Ibraimi, 7. B. Ibraimi (63′ 18. Stênio Júnior).
Kalju: 96. Londark; 2. Kulinitš, 5. Uggè (C), 4. Avilov, 26. Markovych; 9. Mašitšev (60′ 20. Volkov), 7. Mbu Alidor, 15. Subbotin, 43. Paur (87′ 6. Tjapkin); 21. Klein, 11. Liliu.
Yellow cards: Bejtulai, Radeski, Stênio Júnior (Sh), Mašitšev, Klein (K)
Red cards: /
Referee: Alain Bieri
Assistants: Alain Heiniger & Sertac Kurnazca
Fourth official: Stefan Horisberger
Kalju will most likely face Scottish giants Celtic in the next round. They have a 3:1 lead from the the first leg against Bosnian champions Sarajevo and a match at home tomorrow. As for Shkendija, thanks to the new format made by UEFA they are out of the Champions League but will continue in the next round of the Europa League.