Metalurg is hosting Vardar in the most interesting game of the round, so we talked with Oliver Peev and Dimitrija Lazarevski to preview the match.
Metalurg managed to qualify for the final of the Macedonian Cup on Wednesday, and they face another challenge on Saturday when they host Vardar. Metalurg is only one point behind Vardar on the table, so they will be looking to overtake the defending league champions on Saturday. There are only six rounds remaining this season, one of them being this match, so it is imperative for both teams to get a result out of this game.
To get ready for the game, we reached out to two regular players on both teams to get their thoughts on Saturday’s clash. We spoke with Oliver Peev of Metalurg, a former Vardar player, and Dimitrija Lazarevski of Vardar, a player that used to feature for Metalurg.
MF: You are just three points away from the table leaders and you have clinched a place in the cup final. Has the time come for a double title this season?
OP: To be honest, we do have a chance for a double title, but as always with our team, we have one big obstacle ahead of us – the quality of the pitch in each game.
MF: Although you didn’t have the best of starts in the second half of the season, you have won the last three games to get back in the race for first place. Will you manage to defend the crown?
DL: Yes, it is true we were not at our best when the season resumed, but that is behind us at the moment. We are more and more ready to play, as our manager demand, and that has brought us success. The points difference between us and Rabotnichki is easily reachable and we will do our best to be at the top in the end.
MF: You have international experience behind you and you are now having a good season with Metalurg. Do you have a valid contract for the next season as well, or perhaps will you be seeking a transfer abroad?
OP: I am content with what I have achieved so far, but one can always do more. I have a contract until the end of this season, and I would like to try to move abroad for next season, so that will be my priority. But, if that does not happen, then I will be thinking about a club here.
MF: You have a long experience both in Macedonia and abroad. Will you stay in Vardar after the end of this season or could you be looking for a new challenge?
DL: I have a contract until the end of this season, and then Vardar’s management will decide. To be honest, I already have serious offers from two Macedonian clubs and a foreign club, but at the moment my only focus is on Vardar.
MF: The match against Vardar will be very important for both sides. Do you think as a team you have what it takes to defeat them?
OP: It is certainly an important match, but not the most important as there are more matches to go. We know Vardar and we know it is going to be a tough match, especially because we will be missing three players in Vasko Mitrov, Ljubomir Stevanović and Sedat Berisha. However, we will aim for the win.
MF: You are visiting Metaurg, a team that plays on two fronts at the moment, while also having the least defeats and the fewest goals conceded this season. What do you see as their weaknesses? Peev mentioned the pitch as a problem.
DL: Metalurg is a really good team, their success in the domestic cup did not come by accident. Every team has weaknesses and so does Metalurg. We know what theirs are and we will attempt to exploit them. As for the pitch, I agree with Peev. That is an obstacle for a good match and in such cases the best team doesn’t always win. Instead, in those cases it takes more motivation and fighting spirit rather than good play.
MF: In the opposing team you will face Dimitrija Lazarevski. How well do you know him and what do you think of him as a player?
OP: He is not at Vardar for no reason. He is a very experienced and solid player.
MF: In the opposing team you will face Oliver Peev. How well do you know him and what do you think of him as a player?
DL: With Peev, we are friends outside the pitch. He is a fine lad, before everything else. As a player, I value him highly – he completely fulfills my criteria of what a midfielder is supposed to do.