With the goals of Aco Stojkov and Filip Ivanovski, Macedonia beat Iceland with 2:0 and finally won after 5 games without a win. The chances for the second place in the Group 9 are still good, but now Macedonia must beat Scotland and Norway, both away in September.
Macedonia had much of the possession in both the first and the second half, created many chances and if the players were more concentrated Macedonia could win even with 5 goals.
Aco Stojkov opened the score early in the 9th minute after Filip Despotovski first with a dribbling passed by Brynjar Björn Gunnarsson and Pálmi Rafn Pálmason and than found Stojkov in the box, who with a header put the ball near the left post.
In the 16th minute great chance for 2:0 and Stojkov again, but Gunnleifur Gunnleifsson saved his shot. The ball got to Goran Pandev who managed to miss the goal from a short distance. More good actions followed, some with a shot, some with an ending somewhere in or out the box. Macedonia could have secured the points in the first half, but it didn’t.
In the second half the play was the same. Macedonia in attack, Iceland in defense. In the 55th minute the players and the whole stadium wanted a penalty for Macedonia. Ilco Naumoski found Velice Sumulikoski in the box who was just about to fire when Emil Hallfreðsson tackled him, but the French referee Saïd Ennjimmi declined a foul. Naumoski was furious with the ref and got a yellow card for his behavior.
Goalkeeper Jane Nikoloski had to be substituted with Tome Pacovski because he got injured when in the 70th minute Pálmi Rafn Pálmason punched him with his sliding tackle.
Ilco Naumoski had two great chances to score when in the 76th minute Vlade Lazarevski found him in the box. Naumoski’s header was saved by Gunnleifsson, the ball got back to Ilco who fired again, but Gunnleifsson came victorious once again.
Finally, the second goal came in the 86th minute when Vlatko Grozdanoski passed by two players on the left in the box, passed the ball to Filip Ivanovski who with a sliding tackle scored from three meters. It was his first goal in his first game ever for the national team and proved that he was injustically ignored by the former national team coach Srečko Katanec.
You can view the match report here.
Now the Macedonians are on the 3rd place in the Group 9, with same points as Scotland, but worst goal-difference. One more goal in Iceland’s net would have brought us on the second place. Now the Macedonians will have to win on the away games against Scotland and Norway in September. You can view the Group 9 table here.