Macedonia won their first game since coach Blagoja Milevski returned to the U21 national team. The win came in a friendly against Finland held at a neutral venue in Slovakia. This match served as a last preparation before the new qualifiers kick-off in September.
photo: both teams gather up for the national anthems
Blagoja Milevski kept the same 4-5-1 formation that he practiced during the Antalya Cup, but unlike in March when the Macedonian team struggled to defeat their opponents, this time the young Lynx outplayed their rivals from Finland and got a deserving victory. Macedonia seemed to completely dominate during the first halftime, spending the most of the time attacking and leaving Finland very little opportunity to threaten. The domination on the field was shown only after 4 minutes, when Akademija Pandev’s right back Vane Jovanov scored a nice goal from outside the penalty box to give an early lead. Around 10 minutes later, Milan Ristovski also got very close to scoring a goal after blocking a shot from the Finnish goalkeeper, but the ball went slightly off from the goal.
The second halftime went rather quiet and more evened out as both coaches used it to make substitutions and give the reserve players some playing time, which resulted in lack of actions and chances for either team. In the last 15 minutes of the game, Finland went forward and tried to even out the score, but they failed to make any threatening chances aside from few long range free kicks.
In the end, the 1:0 score remained final and Macedonia won a deserving victory. This was the last test before the upcoming qualifiers which start in September with the encounter at home against the Faroe Islands.
Červeník stadium in Trnava
Macedonia – Finland 1:0 (1:0)
Goals: 4′ Vane Jovanov
Macedonia: 1. Jankov; 2. Jovanov (55′ 11. Trapanovski), 6. Lichina, 5. Rufati, 4. Todoroski (84′ 18. Serafimov); 8. Tosheski (55′ 17. Todorov), 10. Zdravkovski (C) (84′ 16. Ljuma), 19. Ackovski (55′ 20. Milovanovikj); 3. Antovski (65′ 14. Stoshikj), 21. Mitrovski (65′ 15. Elezi); 7. Ristovski (65′ 9. Krstovski).
Estonia: 1. Keto; 2. Halme (C), 3. Häkkinen, 8. Oksanen, 9. Mäenpää, 11. Vertainen, 14. Valakari, 16. Lingman, 17. Haukioja, 19. Banza, 22. Kouassivi-Benissan.
Referee: Martin Dohál
Assistants: Marek Galo & Martin Vitko