The Macedonian national team will once again finish on the 4th place in the qualifying group after the defeat to Norway in Oslo with 2-1.
Despite the dream was still active before Macedonia hit the road to finish the last two matches, the team just ended up in the 4th place, like a tradition. Like a destiny, like a rule, like a nightmare.
The match against Norway started awful for the red&yellow. Helstad used a defensive mistake in the second minute and put Norway into lead. Pedersen sent a cross, Pacovski and Grncarov failed to clear the ball, Helstad did not find it hard to put the ball into goal. In the 25th minute, John Arne Riise doubled the lead, curling the ball around the wall and behind Pacovski’s back from a free-kick. Everything already looked lost for the visitors.
In the second half Ibraimi, Alimi and Ivanovski entered the match and surprisingly instead Macedonia, in the final minutes, played as they did in the last matches, they played a bit better. Grncarov pulled one back after Ibraimi sent a cross, Ivanovski touched the ball effectively and Grncarov reacted good, scoring an away goal for Macedonia after two and a half years, considering qualification matches only. Ivanovski could have even equalized in the end, but Pandev got in the way and in the end Knudsen saved.
With the group completed, and Norway finishing in second place with 10 points and a superior goal difference to Scotland, they must now wait to see if they are one of the eight best second-place teams that go into the two-legged playoffs.
Match report HERE.