Not easily as expected Macedonia celebrated away against Liechtenstein thanks to a free kick goal by Bardhi and an injury time goal by Nestorovski. The promotion into League C is now just a point away as well as the place in the play-offs for reaching the 2020 EURO.
photo by FFM: Bardhi (L) celebrates his goal with Hasani while Nestorovski and Trichkovski are joining
From the very first minute it was obvious that Macedonia will dominate the game as Liechtenstein opted for a defensive play with rough tackles. That kind of tactics from the host side killed the play flow and the Macedonians had difficulties to penetrate into the home box.
The first real chance came in the 10th minute. Trajkovski went one on one with keeper Büchel and failed to score after trying to send the ball between his legs. Surprisingly, the assistant referee waved for an offside although Aleks was a whole meter behind his marker when the ball was sent to him.
Eight minutes later Pandev gave a great through ball from the right somewhere around the center of the field finding Hasani on the other side on the edge of the box. Ferhan managed to get near the goal but his shot missed the target as a home defender manager to touch it just a bit moving it to the left and closing Hasani’s angle.
Those two were only big chances in the opening 45 minutes. Liechtenstein did not try any shot towards the goal of Dimitrievski.
It was the same play after the break. Four minutes into the second half and Pandev made a very stupid foul when elbowing Sele which resulting in him getting booked. That means that he ruining his centenary match on Monday against Gibraltar. Instead of celebrating his 100th national team appearance, he will watch the match from the stand and will have to wait for the first game in March next year to mark this great achievement.
In the very next minute the only booked home player at that moment, Sandro Wieser, fouled Pandev and collected his second yellow leaving Liechtenstein with ten men. Since that happened at the edge of the box, Bardhi and Nestorovski stepped in to deliver the free kick. Despite being a better position for Nestorovski, Bardhi tried a shot and did great as he broke the dead lock. It is his first senior national team direct free kick goal.
Although the Lynx had the player advantage, did not bother much to score. After a while the home players saw that they have nothing more to lose in this game and eventually started trying to attack which opened more space for the Macedonians. Few chances were created but Pandev had the most serious when in the 70th minute hit the far post on a volley shot. Five minutes later Trajkovski made an unbelievable miss.
An unusual situation occurred in the 77th minute when home coach Pauritsch decided to make all the three substitutions at once, but at the same time his colleague Angelovski wanted to bring in two players. Almost two minute passed when the five changes were being made. Velkoski took Hasani’s place, while Spirovski stepped in for Trichkovski.
Not even ton minutes passed when Spirovski injured his right leg after a foul committed by Erne. He was immediately taken off and Toshevski eventually got a chance to play after being an eternal bench warmer.
In the last two minutes Velkoski and Pandev had scoring chance, but the score remained unchanged. In the first minute of the injury time finally Macedonian added a second goal, Pandev beautifully served Trajkovski in the box who unselfishly passed the ball by Büchel to Nestorovski who could not miss on an empty net.
In the other match of this group Armenia got its revenge at Gibraltar wining with 6:2 on the road. The next and final round will be played on Monday when Macedonia hosts Gibraltar, while Armenia visits Liechtenstein. Macedonia needs only a point to cement the first place, but three points will also be important for a better seed in the play-offs.