Vardar successfully played the first of the two postponed league games after beating Akademija Pandev 3:1 today.
Due to the participation in the Europa League group stage, Vardar faced with problems in the domestic calendar as league and cup games had to be postponed. Some were already played, leaving the title holders with 3 more to play after the half-season ended for the rest.
Today was played the Round 17 game against Akademija Pandev. Originally, postponed was the first game in Strumica, part of Round 8, but FFM decided that that game has to be played first and placed it on the date of the Round 17.
Chede Janevski made changes in the team as several players were tired from Thursday’s Europa League game against Rosenborg. Novak, Demiri and Gligorov were benched, while Nikolov and captain Grncharov weren’t even summoned.
Vardar took the lead with Dejan Blazhevski scoring on a close range after 19 minutes. Partially it was a mistake by visiting keeper Nikola Vujanac, but the icy field also played a role. Later in the 33rd minute Armenian national team played Hovhannes Hambardzumyan doubled the lead with a 25 meter beauty.
The Academy got back in game when Jani Atanasov successfully converted a penalty kick in the 58th minute. Giulio Grifoni had a chance to score, but Darko Velkovski brought him down and it was an easy decision for the referee to point on the spot.
The visitors were trying to score an equalizer, but failed. Instead, Vardar added a third in the second minute of the stoppage time. Again Hambardzumyan scored a beautiful goal after he received a pass from Juan Felipe. Interestingly, for the Armenian this was his 100th game in the red&black uniform.
The next postponed match is scheduled for Wednesday. Vardar will again play as host, but this time in the Derby of Skopje against Rabotnichki. The local rivals are one of the four teams that beat Vardar this season.
Vardar will eventually go on winter break after playing the return leg of the cup game against Shkupi on the 17th.