Macedonia U21 recorded a deserved point in today’s qualifying match against Denmark in Group 4 of the 2013 UEFA Under-21 championship.
With Ferhan Hasani being on the senior national team and Samir Fazli out with a red card suspension, manager Boban Babunski fielded a 4-5-1 formation against what he called the best team in the group (Denmark). The new formation worked well for Macedonia who held possession and played solid football against Denmark. The first half didn’t feature any clear cut chances for Macedonia U21 but it was still a solid display against the favorite to win the group.
Early in the second half, in the 53rd minute, CB Jasmin Mecinovik sustained an injury and had to be substituted. That move forced several changes in the formation. LB Kire Ristevski moved to left CB, Dzelil Abdula dropped from left midfield to LB, while Goran Siljanovski, the player who replaced Mecinovik, moved to left midfield. That made Macedonia mare attacking minded but Denmark U21 took the undeserving lead in the 73rd minute when striker Nicklas Helenius’s shot took a deflection off of Ristevski before going past the Macedonian keeper Filip Gacevski. Soon thereafter, Aleksandar Trajkovski had a good chance to equalize but he squandered the opportunity. However, in the 78th minute, Macedonia was finally rewarded with Ilija Nestorovski scoring a nice goal to make it 1:1. Nestorovski’s first effort hit the post but he was able to score on the rebound as the Denmark players protested to the referee as they felt the ball did not completely cross the line.
In the end, Macedonia was able to salvage a point and might have even won with some more luck. Macedonia remained in third place of Group 4 with 5 points as they also have a game in hand over Denmark who is in second place with eight points after four games.
Lineup for Macedonia U21: Gacevski; Ristovski, Bogdanovik (C), Mecinovik (53′ Siljanovski), Ristevski; Urdinov, Spirovski (77′ Jakimovski), Tahiri, Abdula, Nestorovski; Trajkovski (84′ Altiparmakovski).