Napredok players will celebrate another First League season; photo: sport.com.mk

Macedonian First League – Round 31

Napredok players will celebrate another First League season; photo: sport.com.mkNapredok celebrated an important win to officially end any possibility of relegation, Metalurg got past Shkendija to return to second place, while Ohrid lost once again and moved one step closer to the Second League.

Napredok, with its comfortable 3:0 win over Sileks, cemented its status as a member of the First League next season, bringing some joy to the home fans in Kichevo.  The club is now safe from the relegation play-off places.  Napredok scored two goals in the opening fifteen minutes of the game through Filip Najdovski and Marko Kostencovski, while the final score was set twenty minutes from time thanks to Kiril Stepanovski.

In the highest profile game of the round, which was also a battle for second place, Metalurg narrowly got past last years champions Shkendija.  Striker Cvetan Churlinov scored the lone goal of the game two minutes before halftime to return Metalurg to second place, a position they have occupied for the majority of the season but lost in the last round.

Teteks, as expected, took the three points in the home encounter against already relegated 11 Oktomvri, and coupled with Ohrid’s home defeat to Rabotnichki, the difference between these two teams, placed 10th and 11th on the table, is now five points.  So, Ohrid only has slim chances of avoiding direct relegation and will need a miracle to overtake Teteks with its current form.

Horizont Turnovo needed a win in Shtip against Bregalnica if they wanted to get closer to escaping the relegation play-off spots.  However, after leading 0:1 at halftime, Turnovo could not hold on to the lead as Bregalnica recorded a come from behind victory in the 2nd half to snatch the three points.  Thus, Turnovo now needs one point in the final two games to avoid direct relegation, but once that happens they will still have participate in the relegation play-offs.

The champions Vardar failed to bear Renova once again and all five matchups between these two teams this season ended in draws.  The three league finished twice goalless and today’s 1:1 result, while the two clubs also met in the semifinals of the Macedonian Cup.  Renova held Vardar to a 0:0 draw at home and then played 1:1 in the return leg, advancing to the final due to the away goals rule.  Renova would eventually claim the domestic cup trophy by defeating Rabotnichki.

Round 31 Results and Scorers:

Bregalnica Shtip – Horizont Turnovo 2:1 (0:1)
48′ Lazar Iliev, 78′ Darko Stojanov – 30′ Sashko Kostadinovski

Napredok – Sileks 3:0 (2:0)
3′ Filip Najdovski, 11′ Marko Kostencovski, 71′ Kiril Stepanovski

Ohrid – Rabotnichki 0:2 (0:1)
34′ Filip Despotovski, 60′ Miloš Živković

Metalurg – Shkendija 1:0 (1:0)
43′ Cvetan Churlinov

Vardar – Renova 1:1 (1:0)
20′ Jovan Kostovski – 56′ Vulnet Emini

Teteks – 11 Oktomvri 2:0 (0:0)
55′, 87′ Stojan Velinov

Round 31: Complete fixtures and standings

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