Shkendija with a great road advantage over Vardar before the return leg, Bregalnica and Pelister to decide the finalist in Bitola.
The first leg games of the semi-finals in the Macedonian Cup saw two games featuring teams that faced each other in the first second half-season round that was played this weekend. Vardar again hosted Shkendija, while Pelister this time travelled to Shtip to match Bregalnica.
If Vardar totally outplayed and beat Shkendija with 3:1 on Sunday in the league, just three days later the teams switched roles on the same field in Skopje. The visitors from Tetovo already had a decent 2:0 lead on half-time thanks to the brace by Ibraimi with a 30-meter stunner and a converted penalty.
The hosts came back in game few minutes after the break as Juan Felipe scored from the spot, but captain Hasani confirmed the big road win some 15 minutes before the end. This 3:1 win is a huge advantage for Shkendija before the return leg in Tetovo and seems like the first finalist is pretty much known. Shkendija is the actual defending champion.
National Arena Philip II of Macedon in Skopje
Vardar: 1. Aleksovski; 3. Popov (61' 77. Brdarovski), 21. Novak, 6. Grncharov (C), 19. Hambardzumyan; 14. Velkovski (46' 20. Nikolov), 16. Gligorov, 70. Juan Felipe; 9. Blazhevski (46' 8. Spirovski), 11. Barseghyan, 10. Kojašević.
Shkendija: 12. Jovanovski; 12. Čeliković, 6. Cuculi, 55. Čolak, 4. Bejtulai; 88. Vujčić, 9. Međedović (82' 14. Radeski), 8. Totre; 10. Hasani (C) (90'+3 19. Bojku), 7. Ibraimi (87' 90. Abdurahimi), 18. Stênio Júnior.
Referee: Dimitar Mechkarovski (Skopje)
Yellow cards: Barseghyan, Popov, Grncharov (V), Cuculi, Čolak, Totre (S)
Red cards: /
The second semi-final match started a bit later, at 17.00 CET in Shtip. It saw last-placed in the league Bregalnica against the third-placed Pelister. In their league game played on Saturday Pelister celebrated a 2:1 win.
The rainy weather didn't stop the players to put on a good performance nor the fans to fill the stadium in Shtip who was full of umbrellas as none of the stands is covered.
The Blues broke the deadlock after just 8 minutes of play when captain Zdravkov scored. Pelister missed a colossal chance to equalize when Trifunovski missed an empty goal in the 32nd minute firing with too much power sending the ball over the goal. The equalizer came five minutes before the break thanks to a successfully converted penalty kick by Ilijoski after Dalcheski played with hand in the box.
In the second half the rain stopped, but the goals didn't. Bojović brought Pelister the lead before Kostadinov put the final 2:2. Obviously, this is a better result for the visitors, but still Bregalnica isn't without a chance to eventually reach the final after being eliminated in the semis four times in the past.
Gradski stadium in Shtip
Bregalnica: 98. Ristovski; 3. Gjoreski, 4. Stojanov, 22. Kocev, 27. Ristovski, 5. Ranđelović, 16. Miovski (46' 13. Ilić), 23. Dalcheski (78' 19. Velkovski), 8. Zdravkov (C), 18. Vučetić, 11. Naumov (67' 71. Kostadinov).
Pelister: 1. Pashovski (C); 3. Toshevski, 5. Mishevski, 6. Bojović, 77. Fernando Augusto, 21. Markoski (84' 7. Bozhinovski), 17. Popzlatanov (75' 9. Milenkovski), 88. Iliev, 22. Trifunovski, 99. Bujchevski (56' 13. Fernando Silva), 10. Ilijoski.
Aleksandar stavrev (Skopje)
Yellow cards: Vučetić, Zdravkov, Dalcheski, Ranđelović (B), Markoski, Mishevski (P)
Red cards: /
There is plenty of time until the return legs as they are scheduled for the 19th of April.
Semi-finals first legs:
Vardar - Shkendija 1:3 (0:2)
52' (pen) Juan Felipe - 26', 45'+1 Besart Ibraimi, 76' Ferhan Hasani
Bregalnica - Pelister 2:2 (1:1)
8' Goran Zdravkov, 70' Tomi Kostadinov - 38' (pen) Bazhe Ilijoski, 67' Radenko Bojović
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