Macedonia put up a good fight against giants Spain, but in the end the visitors achieved the seventh win in a row against us.
There was a surprise in Macedonia’s starting line-up as Kristijan Toshevski made the start at right-back. This was a result of Ferhan Hasani’s injury, thus coach Igor Angelovski moved Stefan Ristovski to midfield. Dimitrievski was on goal, Alioski at left-back with Shikov, Kire Ristevski and Mojsov in central defense. Stjepanovikj and Spirovski were fielded together with Stefan Ristovski and midfield, while captain Pandev and Nestorovski played up front.
The anthems before the kick-off:
Spain dominated the game from the first minute and caused a lot of trouble in front of Dimitrievski’s goal. The pressure resulted in Spain’s first goal in the 15th minute when David Silva made it look easy against Shikov and Dimitrievski. Twelve minutes later Diego Costa netted the second one from close range. Macedonia’s first chance happened in the 32nd minute when Ristovski took a shot from just outside the box after Pandev’s pass. After the bad first half it seemed that Spain would score some more goals, but the Lions came out more confident and put up a good fight during the second half. One of the reason was Elif Elmas who replaced Stjepanovikj directly after the half-time break. The 17-year-old Rabotnichki player was fielded in defensive midfield and showed several times why he has such a high rating. In the 66th minute, Stefan Ristovski netted Macedonia’s goal when he received a pass by Pandev and converted with a great shot after a long run. Macedonia tried to score one more goal, but was not able to make a lot of pressure against a team that knows how to keep the ball. Shortly before the final whistle Pandev found Nestorovski in the box, but Ilija wasn’t able to fire a shot towards the goal.
Highlights of the game (Stefan’s goal at 2:37):
We have to be honest and to accept that Spain is a high class team and we lack individual quality to play on that level. Spain controlled the game when it was necessary, but nevertheless it’s good to see that our senior national team was able to fight back after such a bad first half. The team improved during the last months and hopefully this loss won’t demotivate the players. Our next game in the qualifications is the away encounter against Israel 02 September 2017. For that game the U21 national team members will be available too, thus the coach will have more options on different positions. That should bring further improvement to our team.
To view the match report, click here.