EL: Trakai – Shkendija 2:1 (Video)

Zahov had a busy game; photo: FK TrakaiWith two expulsions, Shkenija got defeated in Lithuania, but comes back with an active result.

Youngster Ennur Totre was fielded to replace injured Stephan Vujčić. That was a concerning news for Shkendija as Vujčić is irreplaceable in the midfield.

Right from the kick-off things went down hill for the Macedonian team. Keeper Zahov went out to catch a long pass when Bejtulai reacted badly kicking the ball into Zahov’s boddy. Maksimov caught it and easily scored on empty goal. It was only the 45th second of the game! Few minutes later Trakai almost doubled the lead, luckily for Shkendija the home played missed my an inch.

After the devastating start Shkendija’s players woke up and took control of the match which resulted in few chances. Hasani was one on one with the keeper but made an incredible miss, while later Alimi hit the post. Meanwhile, Trakai was dangerous on counter attacks.

The equalizer came in the 39th minute. Hasani perfectly passed the ball into the box to Júnior who got around the keeper and scored. With that result the teams went on half-time.

After the break Shkendija took the possession, but only for a while. In the 52nd minute Maksimov scored his second, this time on a header. Another shock for Shkendija.

The home players celebrate one of Maksimov's goals; photo: FK Trakai

Five minutes later new problem for Shkendija as Júnior was shown a direct red card. He slid with both feet into a home player.

Incredibly, the Macedonians were later downed to 9 men. This time central defender Ardian Cuculi was show the way into the locker room. He commited a faul and collected his second yellow card.

This unusual events forced Shkendija to defend the 2:1 result. First Radeski and then Ibraimi were taken off as defenssive players were brought on. Shkendija threatened few times, mostly from free kicks. Time was lost on many occassions as well.

Luckily, the 9 men Shkendija resisted and the result stayed 2:1. Having in mind all the things that happened, this minimal defeat with a goal scored on the road is a great result at the end. Shkendija will now have to win in the return leg under the hot weather in Strumica next Thursday. Of course, the team will be without three key players: Júnior and Cuculi who will be suspended plus injured Vujčić.

Trakai – Shkendija 2:1 (1:1)
Goals: 1′, 52′ Maksim Maksimov – 39′ Stênio Júnior
Shkendija: 1. Zahov: 77. Todorovski, 4. Bejtulai, 6. Cuculi, 13. Celikovic; 5. Alimi, 8. Totre; 14. Radeski (64′ 21. Teqja), 10. Hasani (c) (90’+3 16. Murati), 18. Júnior; 7. Ibraimi (72′ 19. Bojku).

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