3.MFL West half-season ends with Gostivar on top (Analysis)

Gostivar players celebrate the half-sesaon first place; photo: KF GostivarThe first of the third leagues to go on a winter break is the West where Gostivar is leading the table with a point advantage over Zajazi.

Very early, on the 13th of November the first half-season ended in the third league West. The 14 teams played three mid-week rounds in order to end earlier and to avoid playing in the cold Macedonian winter.

Half-season winners – Gostivar is the autumn champion ending at the top with 35 points, without any defeat, only 2 draws and 13 wins. They were only held in the road games against Zajazi and Vardari, both ending 1:1. In the 13 games they managed to score incredible 53 goals and concede only 6.

Second-place – Half-season runners-up is the team of Zajazi from the village of Zajas near Kichevo. They are only a point behind Gostivar with a score of 11 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat. As mentioned above, they tied Gostivar at home, while the only team that managed to beat them was Drita with 2:1.

Promotion – Since third-placed Drita and Vardari are whole 10 points behind Zajazi, it is clear that only the first two will fight for the top. However, due to the new format of the second league next season, it is unclear if even the champion will get promoted. Next season there will be two groups in the second league, group East and group West with 10 teams each. The third league West is of course affiliated with the second league West. Problem is that 6 of the 10 current second league teams belong to the West and 7 of the 10 current first league teams, which makes many combinations of the possible look of the second league West next season. The winners of the third leagues North, West and Southwest will at least enter in a promotion play-off, but there is a slight possibility for a direct promotion. It will be known after the season ends and the first two leagues will be concluded.

Half-season standings (click to enlarge)

Regelation – Due to the problem mentioned above, it is unclear how many teams will be relegated or even if any team will face relegation.

Underperformers – Skenderbeu is definitely the biggest disappointment so far. The team that fought for the title till the last round last season is now 14 points away from the top. Also, it was more expected from the former second league members Drita and Napredok.

Surprise – Newly promoted team Xixa from the village of Greshnica is the biggest surprise. A new club formed just last summer, Xixa managed to gain promotion after winning the 4.MFL Kichevo. Everyone expected the team to be an easy target for the other experienced teams, but with 23 points and 5th place on half-season they showed how wrong everyone were.

Goalscorers – As Gostivar is the team with most goals scored, it is normal that the top scorer is from that team. Ilirid Ademi managed to score 15 of the 53 goals his team scored, and that says that he was scoring at least 1 goal every game.

Top 5 scorers:
Ilirid Ademi (Gostivar)
Sadik Jusufi (Flamurtari)
Belul Nebiu (Xixa)
Naum Veljanoski (Gostivar)
Ilir Djemaili (Zajazi)

Own goals – Only 6 own goals were scored and 3 of them were scored by players from the team of Skenderbeu.

Argjend Ismaili, Besar Kadri, Flamur Memishi (Skenderbeu)
Liridon Ramadani (Zajazi)
Tair Tairoski (Xixa)
Mirendez Hasani (Vrapchishte)

Discipline – 285 yellow and 27 red cards were shown in the 91 matches. Only Vardari and Xixa did not get a red card, while Kamjani is the most disciplined team when it comes to yellow cards with only 14. Of those with red cards, no played got more then 1.

Yellow cards (by club):
29 – Vrapchishte
26 – Drita
24 – Napredok, Tearca
21 – Arsimi
20 – Rechica
19 – Besa, Flamurtari, Skenderbeu, Xixa, Zajazi
16 – Gostivar, Vardari
14 – Kamjani

Red cards (by club):
6 – Flamurtari
4 – Skenderbeu
3 – Besa
2 – Arsimi, Gostivar, Kamjani, Napredok, Rechica
1 – Drita, Tearca, Vrapchishte, Zajazi

Yellow cards (by player):
Imer Sulejmani, Nazim Zendeli (Flamurtari)
Zilfi Veliu, Veljdan Saliu (Arsimi)
Fatih Hasipi, Engjin Shaban (Vrapchishte)
Amir Zendeli, Fasli Imeri (Skenderbeu)
Tair Tairoski (Xixa)
Durim Saiti (Rechica)
Brendim Rushiti (Drita)

Players – Only 9 players were 100% regular this half-season. They played the whole 90 minutes in each round and were never substituted. Three of them are from Vardari, while no such player exists in Arsimi, Gostivar, Kamjani, Napredok, Rechica, Skenderbeu and Tearca.

Most regular players:
Boshko Glishovski (Besa)
Osman Daci (Drita)
Bekjir Sinani (Flamurtari)
Visar Krivanjeva, Elmir Aliji, Vildan Isljami (Vardari)
Fatih Hasipi (Vrapchishte)
Shkjiprim Asani (Xixa)
Agon Hashimi (Zajazi)

Biggest wins – Leaders Gostivar are the holders of the highest win this half-season. They managed to score 11 goals past the team of Tearca in the Round 9. Together with Drita they also hold the second highest win of 7:0.

Gostivar – Tearca 11:0
Drita – Arsimi 7:0
Gostivar – Kamjani 7:0
Gostivar – Xixa 6:0
Zajazi – Arsimi 6:0
Drita – Tearca 6:0

Highest scoring games – The Round 2 game between Zajazi and Skenderbeu is the highest scoring first half-season game with 12 goals. The players put on a great show for the fans who enjoyed in a 8:4 home win.

12 at Zajazi – Skenderbeu 8:4
11 at Gostivar – Tearca 11:0
10 at Besa – Vrapchishte 7:3
9 at Flamurtari – Napredok 5:4
8 at Skenderbeu – Flamurtari 5:3 and Xixa – Kamjani 5:3

Now there is a long winter break as the second half-season will begin in March next year.

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