Aleksandar Trajkovski converted a penalty in the 78th minute to help Macedonia avoid an unlucky loss against Albania.
After the 1:0 road win against Israel hopes were very high among the Macedonian fans, creating an atmosphere of a must win game against Albania in Strumica, the hometown of Goran Pandev. Coach Igor Angelovski brought the same line-up as against Israel and again it was a tough game, this time against neighbours Albania. It was obvious that both sides were afraid of losing, thus both teams played cautious football without a lot of risk.
The anthems before the match:
In the 23rd and 24th minute Macedonia had two nice effort. First Pandev fired a shot that was blocked by Albania’s goalie, afterwards Bardhi took a free-kick, but he was not precise enough to beat Berisha. Moments after that Albania had a counter attack, luckily Stefan Ristovski stopped Sadiku with a great tackle.
Eight minutes after the half-time break Sadiku made a cross from the left hand side and it was Roshi who scored with a header past Dimitrievski. The Lions needed time to digest the setback, but slowly started to dominate the game. In the 70th minute Pandev nearly headed home an equalizer, but Ajeti was there to kick out the ball. Than there was the decisive moment. Macedonia had a corner and Kire Ristevski went up for a header. His effort wasn’t very dangerous, but Roshi played with the hand and the referee called for a penalty. Captain Goran Pandev is the first choice penalty taker, but he willingly left the ball to Aleksandar Trajkovski who was celebrating his 25th birthday. The Palermo forward succesfully converted the penalty kick. In the following minutes Nestorovski had two great oppurtunities to score a game winner, but first he lost the ball when he tried to dribble past the goal and afterwards he missed a chance from close range. Eventually, the game ended in a draw.
To view the match report, click here.
Highlights of the game:
Macedonia was the better side and deserved three points, especially after the courageous finish when Angelovski introduced three forwards with Trajkovski, Radeski and Trichkovski and Macedonia produced some good chances. Nevertheless Albania had the possibility even to win this game, thus maybe the draw is a legitimate result. The next game is away to Italy on the 6th October. Macedonia will be an outsider, but we showed in the first game that even against Italy everything is possible. Furthermore it’s good to see that Macedonia slowly is changing the mentality and the main goal is not anymore just to not lost, it seems that the team is always trying to grab three points.