Macedonia continued their good form from September and defeated Slovenia thanks to two goals to uprising star Elif Elmas.
photo by Filip Zdraveski: the national teams getting ready for kick-off
Angelovski started with a 3-4-3 formation with Ristevski, Musliu and Ristovski in the back line, Ademi and Spirovski as defensive midfielders, Alioski and Nikolov on the wings and Elmas, Nestorovski and Pandev in the offensive line.
The first halftime was very evened out and it wasn’t until the stoppage time when things culminated. Elif Elmas scored a nice goal, but after discussion with the assistant – the Dutch referee Makkelie eventually ruled it out due to passive offside by Boban Nikolov. That decision seemed to anger the red lynxes so after the halftime they went all forward completely outplaying Slovenia, which they very soon materialized into the score.
Elif Elmas finally got himself the goal that he deserved by scoring in the 50th minute, after a nice ball from Pandev that left him alone against the Slovenian goalkeeper, against whom Elmas came out as a winner.
A while later, Elif found himself in yet another good opportunity coming one on one against Oblak, and once again the Napoli star found the back of the net to score his second goal for the game and fourth in these qualifiers.
After that, Macedonia routinely maintained the score, but in the 5th minute of the stoppage time the Dutch referee gave Slovenia a somewhat debatable penalty after a foul by Zajkov who entered the game as a last substitute. Josip Iličić converted the penalty and scored to lower down for a final 2:1.
Overall it was a good game by the Macedonian national team and well deserved victory that now puts Macedonia third in the group with three more games left, although it does remain a bit frustrating that Elmas’ first goal got ruled out as well as the fact that we conceded an unnecessary penalty goal in the final moments of the match. But whether the result is 3:0 or 2:1, in the end it is primarily the points that matter, and Macedonia got the 3 points they were aiming to win from this encounter. The national team players now have 2 days time to prepare for their next big encounter – on Sunday against group leaders Poland, away in Warsaw.
Macedonian fans sing during the match: