Macedonia did not respond well to the Montenegro win by putting forth an uninspiring performance to fall 1:0 to Lebanon.
Disappointing. That’s the best way to describe Macedonia’s showing, or lack thereof, in today’s friendly against Lebanon. This was a chance to show that the Montenegro result was not a fluke, but the team failed to respond.
Manager Igor Angelovski only made one change to the starting lineup. Ilija Nestorovski came in for Agim Ibraimi, who was not available, while the other ten starters were the same as last Thursday. However, the players were unable to replicate their performance from the Montenegro friendly.
Urgency was lacking from the get go and that lasted for the full match. Macedonia struggled mightily in open play, creating few clear-cut chances. Instead, most of their dangerous moments came following corner kicks, but the finishing was not up to par, mostly from Vanche Shikov and Daniel Mojsov, the main targets on those set pieces due to their height.
Lebanon scored the only goal early in the 2nd half to punish Macedonia. Goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski could not clear the ball after a long cross from the left hand side, leading to the breakthrough. After Dimitrievski whiffed, the ball was mishit by Ivan Trichkovski and that led Lebanon to score on an easy header from close range. It was an avoidable goal, but that play pretty much summed up the day for Macedonia.
This was a missed opportunity. Instead of putting together a winning streak and regaining some fan support, the vitriol and negativity returned. The few fans in attendance booed the team as the referee blew the final whistle, while the media in Macedonia will also be harsh. Now, the squad must wait four months until the next game to get this bad taste out of their mouth (the next FIFA date for national team purposes is in March of 2016).
Viktor Angelov made his debut for the senior side in this game. He came off the bench in the 78th minute to replace Krste Velkoski. Angelov had one good look in the 84th minute, but his sliding effort from inside the area was blocked.
Macedonia: Dimitrievski, Ristovski (70′ Brdarovski), Shikov, Mojsov, Zuta, Stjepanovic (46′ Bardhi), Gligorov (63′ Petrovic), Trichkovski, Velkoski (78′ Angelov), Nestorovski (46′ Ilijoski), Trajkovski.