Pandev, Ibraimi matchup results in draw

Pandev won a penalty, but was also involved in controversial moment in 2nd half; photo: sscnapoli.itThe Serie A encounter between Cagliari and Napoli, both featuring a Macedonian international on their team, resulted in a 1:1 draw on Saturday.

Goran Pandev started in the attacking midfield role for Napoli and played until the 82nd minute when he was substituted by Duván Zapata.  Pandev played a part in the lone Napoli goal in the 19th minute when he was fouled inside the area, leading to a penalty.  Unlike the last game, in which Pandev also won a penalty and then proceeded to miss the spot kick against Inter, this time striker Gonzalo Higuaín took the penalty and calmly sent his effort past the Cagliari keeper.  The goal tied the match at 1:1 after Cagliari had taken the initial lead in the 9th minute.

Pandev was also involved in a controversial moment in the 73rd minute.  Napoli looked to have taken the 1:2 lead after nice goal from a volley by José Callejón, but it was disallowed for offside.  The referee ruled that the shot by Callejón took a slight touch off of Pandev, who was in an offside position, so the goal was disallowed to the disgust of Pandev, his teammates and the Napoli coaches.  Replays were inconclusive as to whether Pandev touched the ball, but the referee was adamant in his ruling and the score remained 1:1, which also happened to be the final result as well.

Pandev wins penalty (at 1:01) and his role in controversial disallowed goal in 2nd half (at 1:50):

As for Agim Ibraimi of Cagliari, he once again found himself on the bench at the start of the match.  He eventually made a late appearance in the 85th minute when he took the place of Andrea Cossu.  Ibraimi played primarily in central midfield during his brief time on the pitch.

When the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of the match, the Cagliari players rejoiced and went to acknowledge their fans, while the Napoli players were visibly angry upon leaving the field and uttered some choice words to the Cagliari players and referees.

Napoli is slowly removing itself from the title race in Serie A.  If top ranked Juventus wins on Sunday against Atalanta, Napoli will trail Juve by 10 points on the standings.

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