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You are here: International EL: Shkendija advances, Rabotnichki eliminated (Video)

EL: Shkendija advances, Rabotnichki eliminated (Video)

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The players of Shkendija after the final whistle; photo: KF ShkendijaThe players of Shkendija after the final whistle; photo: KF ShkendijaShkendija defended the 3:1 home win by playing 1:1 away with HJK and advanced into the the 3rd round, while Rabotnichki disappointed suffering a 3:0 defeat by Dinamo in Minsk and faced elimination.

HJK - Shkendija 1:1 (1:0); 2:4 agg.
Goals: 28' (og) Marjan Radeski - 71' Ivan Čeliković
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 13. Čeliković, 6. Cuculi, 4. Bejtulai, 77. Todorovski; 11. Vujčić (79' 19. Bojku), 5. Alimi; 90. Abdurahimi (66' 8. Totre), 10. Hasani (c), 14. Radeski (90'+4 21. Teqja); 7. Ibraimi.

Seems like Shkendija is repeating the European adventure from last summer when they reached the play-offs, the last qualifying phase before the group stage. Now they one step away from repeating that. They eliminated Finnish side HJK with 4:2 on aggregate and will now face Trakai, the surprise from Lithuania who first knocked out Scottish team St Johnstone by beating them twice, while yesterday they eliminated Norrköping from Sweden on penalties.

Shkendija recorded a 3:1 win at home over HJK and yesterday in Finland they faced huge pressure right from the beginning. HJK scored according to their plan, one goal in the first half. It came after a corner kick taken by Moshtagh Yaghoubi, the ball went on the nearer post where Marjan Radeski reacted badly placing the ball in his own net. That goal boosted the morale of HJK as now they only needed one more to eliminate Shkendija. Luckily that never happened as Shkendija eventually started playing better and better. In the 71st minute Hasani served Čeliković after a counter attack and the result was tied. It was too late for HJKto do something and Shkendija even missed some chances for a winner in the last few minutes.

Trakai will be host in the first leg schedulled for 27 July, while the return leg will be played on 03 August. It is still unknown on which stadium Shkendija will play as host since Strumica's Mladost doesn't meet UEFA standards for hosting a Round 3 match. UEFA allowed Vardar to host København at Philip II of Macedon arena, but with reduced capacity and reversed order of legs. Vardar will play host first in order to have more time for the field to be repaired for the UEFA Super Cup. There is no way UEFA to let another game to be played before that event, so maybe despite all the flaws they will let Strumica be host again.

Dinamo Minsk - Rabotnichki 3:0 (1:0); 4:1 agg.
Goals: 21' Oleksandr Noyok, 70' Nino Galović, 84' Anton Saroka
Rabotnichki: 1. Shishkovski; 6. Herrera (69' 17. Kadriu), 23. Bilali, 4. Mitrev, 27. Rašo; 24. Trajchevski (c), 2. Najdovski (30' 7. S. Sahiti), 8. Duranski (82. 19. Stankovski); 11. Velinov, 10. Najdenov, 15. Markoski.

Totaly different was the game featuring Rabotnichki. Their bad play from the first leg when they got a 1:1 draw with last minute penalty was repeated again, this time even worse. Rabotnichki came to Belarus to attack, but they could never threaten Dinamo's goal as they had no idea how to reach the home team's box. Easy win for the Belarusian side with one goal in the first and two in the second half.

Looking they play, it comes clear that Rabotnichki was no match for Dinamo, altrhought Dinamo was nothing special. Without Elif Elmas in the midfield and Vanche Shikov in the defence, Rabotnichki is a totaly different team, without stability in the defence and creativity up front.

Dinamo will now face Cypriot side AEK from Larnaca, the team of Ivan Trichkovski and Danmiel Mojsov. It could have been very interesting to watch them against Rabotnichki, but that won't happen.

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