Vardar eliminated Shkupi from the Macedonian Cup and advanced to a clash with Shkendija in the quarter-finals.
The return leg was played at the same venue as the first, at the Gjorche Petrov stadium. Vardar played as host there in order to keep the Philip II arena for the Europa League, while couple of days ago FFM banned Shkupi’s stadium in Chair due to poor pitch conditions.
With the first match ending in an 1:1 draw, Shkupi had the away goal advantage and therefore opted for a defensive approach in today’s game.
Vardar was trying, but failed to break the home defensive and the match went on half-time goalless. Shkupi only tried to created a chance from counter-attacks.
In the 64th minute Dejan Blazhevski beautifully found Boban Nikolov in the box who headed the ball into Shkupi’s net. After all that pressure, Vardar deserved to take the lead.
The 82nd minute was underway when Maksim Maksimov doubled the lead on a pass by Juan Felipe following an action by Tigran Barseghyan. That goal clear any doubts on who would advance in the next round.
Vardar will now face Shkendija in the quarter-finals, although the Cup involving other teams has reached the semis. Akademija Pandev, Renova and holders Pelister are already in the semi-final and will wait for the winner of Vardar – Shkendija in order to complete the last four.
The cup games of Vardar had to be postponed from the start because of the historic qualification of the red&black team in the Europa League group stage.
Vardar hasn’t played a cup final since lifting the trophy in 2007 against Pobeda, while Shkupi dreams of a final since winning it in 2004 against Napredok as Sloga Jugomagnat.