Pelister wins 2017 Cup final!

The fans of Pelister were jubilant after the last penalty; photo: Darko Jankulovski

After a goalless 120 minutes Pelister celebrated 4:3 on penalties over Shkendija, winning its second Cup trophy.

The green and white team of Pelister is the winner of the 2016/17 Macedonian Cup. They managed to grab their second trophy in the fourth final in a game that lasted more then two hours as penalties had to decide the winner between them and holders Shkendija.

In the opening minutes Shkendija dominated and had the control over the game play. Their best chance was when Stênio Júnior fired a shot from inside the box that went wide. Pelister later started playing better and made few dangerous attacks. Bazhe Ilijoski had a good shot that was saved by Kostadin Zahov, but the best chance was when Bobi Bozhinovski penetrated into the box and instead of breaking the dead lock he managed to miss the target.

It is interesting to note that Pelister made the fastest substitution in the history of the Cup finals when in the very first minute they changed the goalkeepers. They started with youth player Hristijan Petrovski who left his place to Ilche Petrovski. According to the rules, each team must start a game with one youth player. Shkendija had Ennur Totre who was substituted on half-time. Many of the teams are unhappy with this rule and a whole in it by making first minute substitutions.

Moment of the first half; photo: Darko Jankulovski

Just three minutes after the break Besart Ibraimi tried from 20 meters, but the ball missed Pelister’s goal. In the 56th minute the match was interrupted by the referee because of nationalistic chants from parts of the crowd. The match continued after ten minutes.

Pelister had a great chance in the 76th minute. It came after Stephan Vujčić made a fatal mistake before the box Ilijoski took the ball but Zahov managed to prevent him from scoring. The 90 minutes ended goalless so the game went into extra time.

Shkendija again dominated, but failed to create chances. Just before the end of the first extra time, Pelister missed a crucial opportunity for scoring. Fernnado Silva lead a counter attack, went on on one with Zahov but instead of trying to score he decided to assist to Ilijoski who failed to reach the ball as Cuculi sent it for corner kick.

Into the second half; photo: Darko Jankulovski

Five minutes into the second extra time and Ferhan Hasani missed the winner. Inside the box he tried a shot but did it very bad and the ball went too wide. The game eventually ended 0:0 and went into penalty kicks.

In the penalty shoot-out better team at the end was Pelister who missed only one penalty, while Shkendija missed twice. First to miss was Besart Ibraimi who sent the ball wide. Then Lucas Cardoso copied him, while the crucial miss was the one of Besart Abdurahimi whose penalty was saved by Ilche Petrovski. The winning penalty for the Bitola based team was scored by Bazhe Ilijoski for whom this is the 5th cup trophy. Previously he won it three times with Rabotnichki (2007/08, 2013/14 and 2014/15) and once with Metalurg (2010/11). It is worth noting that Ilijoski has never lost a cup final!

For Pelister this is the second Cup trophy. The waited 16 years as previously they won in back in 2001 when they defeated Sloga Jugomagnat with 2:1. On the other side, Shkendija also played its fourth cup final, but they ended up on the losing side for the third time. They failed to join Vardar (1997/98 & 1998/99) and Rabotnichki (2007/08 & 2008/09 and 2013/14 & 2014/15) as back to back winners.

To view the match report click here.

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