Late equalizer denied Macedonia a win in the first pre-EURO friendly against Slovenia. Elmas brought the lead, while Črnigoj equalized deep into the stoppage time.
photo by NZS: Iličić and Trajkovski
Macedonia started the preparations for the 2020 EURO with a 1:1 home draw against Slovenia. The Lynx had the lead until the finals moments, but a deep injury time equalizer prevented the returnee stadium fans to celebrate.
Angelovski started the match with a 3-4-3 formation with his usual starting line-up. COVID-19 positive Enis Bardhi was missing as well as injured Ilija Nestorovski. Therefore, the coach opted for Dimitrievski between the posts, Musliu, Velkovski and Bejtulai in the back line, Ademi and Nikolov in the midfield, Alioski left and Ristovski on the right wing, up front captain Pandev and Trajkovski with Elmas just behind them.
The match did not start well as in the 4th minute Jure Balkovec got injured and Slovenian coach was forced to make a change. Just minutes after that event Iličić missed a great opportunity to bring a visiting lead, but his shot missed the target.
The opening half saw not many chances. Pandev tried a header after Alioski attempted a cross at half an hour, but missed the ball and the first half ended goalless.
Ten minutes after the break and Macedonia took the lead. Nikolov stole the ball, Alioski took it and run in counter attack finishing with a cross to Elmas who scored on first touch.
After the goal Angelovski made several changes introducing first Kostadinov and Trichkovski, than Ristevski and Avramovski, and 8 minutes before time Hasani and Churlinov.
The match was without big chances and everyone thought it would end with a home win. However, the referee showed 5 minutes of injury time, but let 7 to be played and in the 7th minute substitute Črnigoj leveled the score with a nice shot after which the referee blew the final whistle.
Macedonia missed a win, probably a good lesson before the EURO. Football is played until the final whistle, no matter how long the injury time is.
This was the 7th encounter between Macedonia and Slovenia and only the 2nd draw.
On Friday is the second and final friendly before the EURO. Kazakhstan visits Skopje for a first encounter with Macedonia. The match is set to kick-off at 18.00 CET.
Interesting facts regarding this match:
- 118th appearance for Goran Pandev.
- 30th cap for Visar Musliu.
- 20th cap for Ezgon Bejtulai.
- 10th yellow card for Ezgjan Alioski.
- 7th goal for Elif Elmas.
- 1st time a Kosovar referee at a match involving Macedonia.