Shkendija eliminated from Champions League (Video)

After the heavy road defeat in Austria, Shkendija as expected failed to overcome the difference in goals and ended its Champions League adventure to Salzburg. However, thanks to UEFA’s new rule, they will now continue in the Europa League qualifiers.

photo by RB Salzburg: Hannes Wolf pushes Gledi Mici

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Short but heavy rain hit Skopje some 45 minutes before kick-off, just to make the pitch more difficult for the players.

The players of Shkendija go out for a pre-match warm up under the rain; photo: KF Shkendija

Salzburg could have buried even those tiniest hopes left in the home players as in the fourth minute Munas Dabbur missed a huge chance.. He received a low cross in front of goal, but totally whiffed on a tap-in from close range. Probably the slippery surface affected him, but that was a huge miss.

Besides that chance, Shkendija the Austrians in the opening twenty minutes. They played with more intensity and purpose, but a goal was lacking.

The first half ended go0alless with no other serious chances. Shkendija was desperately trying to create a chance, but they just lack the quality in the final third to trouble a stingy opponent. As for Salzburg, they played like a team that had a 3:0 lead, looking very disinterested.

Three minutes after the break and Salzburg made another miss. This time on a the counter attack. Wolf was perfectly served on an empty goal, but somehow managed to send the shot wide.

In the very next minute Shkendija created their best opportunity, but Emini’s shot from close range was blocked by a Salzburg defender. The home players went furious with the referee as they were looking for a penalty for hand ball. On the other end, Wolf again missed to break the dead lock. He went one-on-one with the keeper, but Zahov made a great save. Wold could have passed the ball to Dabbur, but was selfish.

Besart Ibraimi wasted two scoring changes around the 65th minute. He made a clever dribbles to create space, had a great view on goal, but twice his shot lacked power and was an easy save for Stanković. Ibraimi is usually a good finisher, but not in this match-up.

Just as everyone was waiting for the final whistle, Stênio Júnior made a dumb cross inside his own box. Substitute Takumi Minamino seized the occasion as he was perfectly served and scored a game winning goal. Awful way to lose a match!

Salzburg advances to the play-off round where will face Serbian champion Crvena Zvezda. It is the last round before the group stage.

Shkendija won’t end its European adventure, instead will now enter the Europa League play-off round, thanks to the new format made by UEFA. They will face the winner of the match-up between Irish side Cork City and Rosenborg of Norway. The later have a 2:0 lead before Thursday’s return leg at home. Shkendija will play the with leg on road on the 23rd.

National Arena Philip II of Macedon in Skopje
Macedonia Shkendija – Austria Salzburg 0:1 (0:0); 0:4 agg.
Goals: 90’+2 Takumi Minamino
Shkendija: 1. Zahov; 21. Mici, 33. Adili (71′ 9. Selmani), 6. Musliu, 4. Bejtulai; 8. Totre, 5. Alimi (C); 18. Stênio Júnior, 20. Emini (86′ 11. Shefiti), 34. Nafiu (46′ 19. Bojku); 7. Ibraimi.
Salzburg: 1. Stanković; 17. Ulmer (C), 34. Pongračić, 15. Ramalho, 22. Lainer; 4. Haidara, 13. Wolf, 8. Samassékou, 42. Schlager (89′ 24. Leitgeb); 9. Dabbur (76′ 20. Daka), 7. Yabo (67′ 18. Minamino).
Yellow cards: Adili, Bejtulai, Musliu (Sh), Schlager, Dabbur, Samassékou (S)
Red cards: /
Referee: Tamás Bognár Hungary
Assistants: Balázs Buzás & Theodoros Georgiou Hungary
Fourth official: Péter Solymosi Hungary

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