Macedonia followed up the disappointing showing against Sweden with another lackluster and uninspired performance, resulting in a 2:0 loss against Norway.
As expected, manager Chedomir Janevski made a number of changes in the starting lineup. From the 11 that started against Sweden on 3 June, only Tome Pachovski, Nikola Gligorov, Ivan Trichkovski and Samir Fazli also got the start in the Norway friendly.
The 1st half opened pretty slow with Norway controlling most of the possession, but the first real opportunity fell to Macedonia in the 4th minute when a powerful shot by Veliche Shumulikoski went just over the goal. In the 7th minute, Ivan Trichkovski beat the offside trap but his header from a solid position went well over the goal.
Norway took the 1:0 lead in the 9th minute thanks to a goal by Per Ciljan Skjelbred. A cross from the right took a slight deflection off of Aleksandar Todorovski, throwing of the timing of keeper Tome Pachovski who had come out to gather the ball, and Skjelbred was there to pounce with a close range header after he outmaneuvered the left side of the Macedonian defense to reach the right spot.
Macedonia had a good chance to equalize in the 13th minute when a low cross by Mirko Ivanovski from the right reached Ferhan Hasani whose sliding effort from inside the area was parried away by the Norway keeper before going out for a corner.
The home side followed with two more chances in the 19th and 23rd minute, but Pachovski made the save each time and more importantly prevented rebound opportunities. Then followed a slow period devoid of any serious chances until Macedonia threatened twice just before the halftime break. Ivan Trichkovski’s free kick in the 45th minute went narrowly wide of the right goal post, while Ferhan Hasani scored a goal in the second minute of stoppage time but it was correctly disallowed as he was clearly in an offside position.
Janevski made four changes at the start of the 2nd half, bringing on Darko Tofiloski, Blagoja Ljamchevski, Ostoja Stjepanovikj and Adis Jahovikj for Tome Pachovski, Darko Glishikj, Nikola Gligorov and Ivan Trichkovski. Macedonia quickly created its best chance of the game in the 53rd minute when Hasani nicely controlled a ball with his chest, but his finishing let him down as his shot from a good position inside the area struck the right goal post.
In the 60th minute, Macedonia went down to 10 players after Boban Grncharov was shown a red card. Boban collected a yellow card for a foul, didn’t like the decision by the referee and then got right into his face, leading the referee to send him off with a red card. It was totally uncalled for on Grncharov’s part as he put the team in an even bigger disadvantage. Soon thereafter, Janevski sacrificed a striker in Samir Fazli to bring on an additional defender in Daniel Ivanovski.
Norway used the one player advantage to create several quality chances, culminating in scoring the second goal of the game in the 79th minute through Daniel Braaten. Daniel beat the offside trap and then beat keeper Darko Tofiloski with a well placed shot from a tight angle.
The final chance for Macedonia came in the 88th minute but Adis Jahovikj hesitated in his decision making and allowed the Norway keeper to gather the ball. Replays showed Jahovikj was offside on the play, however the referees missed it, leading Jahovikj to briefly be one on one against the keeper, but he squandered the chance to keep the score at 2:0 for Norway.
All in all, two friendlies for Macedonia in June and two lackluster performances. With a number of key players sidelined for both the Sweden and Norway games, there was an opportunity for some players who haven’t played under this coaching staff to impress, but it proved to be a missed opportunity which could very well affect their standing within the national team in the future.
To view the match report, click here.