Players’ thoughts on Azerbaijan draw

The statements of Stole Dimitrievski and Kire Ristevski, opponents Kamran Ağayev, Tural Axundov and Ürfan Abbasov after yesterday’s draw between Macedonia and Azerbaijan, plus the thoughts of both coaches.

photo by AFFA: Dimitrievski save a dangerous attack

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Stole Dimitrievski (Macedonia keeper): “The first friendly, the one against Finland, was way more tougher. In the second game our opponents had more dangerous attacks, we also had many and there were two penalties awarded. I picked the right side on their penalty, too bad I was only close from saving it. Still, from my point of view I have to be satisfied of our performance. With every new game I fell more and more confident between the national team posts. I hope there will be more friendlies before the Nations League. In our group we and Armenia are the favorites for the first place. If you ask me, those games between us and them will be decisive. If we win the first encounter we will be in a much better situation.”

Kamran Ağayev (Azerbaijan keeper): “We wanted to win. The opponents have several players that play in stronger clubs, so it was important for us to understand and comprehend each other a teams. Both goals came were from penalty kicks. Although the game ended in a draw, I think we were closer to the victory. In particular, in the second part, we did not allow them to create real scoring chances. Instead, we played well, and got even closer to score a winner. Even though this was a friendly game, we just came out on the field to win. We represent our country, regardless of the status of the game.”

Kire Ristevski (Macedonia defender): “We fought as always, we gave our best, but that early penalty shocked us a bit. Throughout the whole match we were trying to created scoring chances, we did created many, but we failed to convert them into goals and we feel sorry for that. Our defense functions pretty good. When I play with Musliu and Velkovski I always feel secure. That is the reason for our good results. We had great training facilities in Turkey. I regret that we did not win at least one of the two friendlies.”

Tural Axundov (Azerbaijan central midfielder): “We faced an opponent that has a very strong team. We tried to neutralize their play and I can even say that we managed to achieve that. There were a few situations in which we could have scores. If we continue to play like we did in this game, we will achieve good results.”

Ürfan Abbasov (Azerbaijan left back): “We analyzed the opponent well as we knew that they have strong players. We did our best to fulfill the instructions given by our coach Qurban Qurbanov. This game was good for us. Unfortunately, we were unable to convert at least one of our scoring chances. If we did, the result would now be different.”

Igor Angelovski (Macedonia coach): “We played an interesting match that ended with an 1:1 draw. I am satisfied with the way we played, but unlike against Finland I can’t say the same about the final outcome. I have gathered all the needed info before the start of the Nations League. It is possible to arrange two more friendlies in May. Here in Turkey we had great conditions for training that we used to the maximum. I can only congratulate the players for their approach and determination, only by playing motivated like now we can achieve good results. We created chances, we had opportunities in which only the final pass was absent, but anyway, these are march friendlies in which the players are looking for their form. We will be much better in the Nations League.”

Qurban Qurbanov (Azerbaijan coach): “I really wanted to play such a game. It is important for the players to adapt to such encounters. Today they were very enthusiastic on the pitch. Even if we got defeated, I would have been happy with the game. During the previous games, out players had some psychological problems, but they had a much better approach on this encounter. We were a completely different team against Belarus in Baku, in a bad way. The statistics of that game prove my point. But it did not happen today. I congratulate my players. We encountered a serious opponent. Even though I did not see the football I wanted, I watched the fight I wanted. The focus on the game and the concentration were much better. During the training session, I had lots of conversations with the players and I saw most of what I wanted on the pitch. I can say that I am satisfied with the preparation process. I was also introduced with the VAR system. It was a fair encounter.”

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