First League

Preview: First League – Round 5

First LeagueRound 5 of the First League is on deck, featuring matchups of both the top two and bottom two teams on the table facing off against one another.

The current table leaders, Horizont Turnovo, visits the reigning champions Vardar in a matchup of the the top two teams on the table in the early part of the season.  Turnovo, the biggest surprise so far, will look to continue their good start with a solid display against Vardar.  The home side has rebounded from the defeat to Napredok in the second round by winning both league games since that time as well as adding another victory in a domestic cup game.  With a win, Vardar would reclaim the lead at the top of the standings.

Another team who has performed above expectations is newcomers Drita.  They are tied for third place on the table, winning two games already, and will aim for three more points against Renova tomorrow.  Renova has been up and down so far and finds itself in the meddle of the table.  They won convincingly against Teteks but then lost to Vardar at home before barely getting by third league side Poeshevo in the Macedonian Cup.

On the other end of the standings, this round sees a matchup between the two teams who are still without a point in Sileks and Teteks.  The poor start by Sileks is not really a surprise since the team sold many players, but not many people expected Teteks to get off to such a horrible start with the reinforcements the club added in the summer.  This match will be extremely important for both teams to get on track and look to turn around the bad fortunes to open the season.  For the losing team in this game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see the second managerial change of the early season after Vlatko Kostov departed Renova.

Pelister will host Napredok in Bitola once again in an empty stadium.  This will the second and final game of that ban for an incident in the first home game of the season against Shkendija.  They managed to win against Bregalnica Shtip the last time they played with no fans at the stadium, and although they showed good play in Skopje against Rabotnichki last week, they returned home with nothing to show for it.  Now, Napredok awaits and Pelister will fancy its chances to collect three points against a team that does well at home but struggles on the road.

Shkendija squares off against Rabotnichki in another interesting match scheduled for round 5.  Shkendija has started slow but three of its first four league games have been on the road.  Their lone home game resulted in a win over Metalurg.  That will also be targeted in this home match against Rabotnichki whose defense has been very shaky thus far with nine conceded goal.  Both Shkendija and Rabotnichki also made some good signings in the dying moments of the transfer window which they hope will lead to more stability and consistency.

Another team who has not had the best start is Metalurg.  Last season, they only had 4 defeats in 33 matches, while they already have 2 losses this year after just 4 rounds.  They now host Bregalnica Shtip, a solid team further strengthened with the return of Marko Vučetić.  Bregalnica is just above Metalurg on the table and the match in Avtokomanda should provide to be a good affair to the fans in attendance.

Sunday, 02.09.2012 at 16.30 CET

Zhelezarnica stadium in Skopje
Metalurg vs. Bregalnica Shtip
Referee: Dragan Janevski (Kochani)

Bogovinje stadium in Bogovinje
Drita
vs. Renova
Referee: Faton Mustafi (Tetovo)

Pod Tumbe Kafe stadium in Bitola
Pelister
vs. Napredok
Referee: Dejan Jakimovski (Skopje)

Gradski stadium in Tetovo
Shkendija
vs. Rabotnichki
Referee: Petar Mantev (Negotino)

Sunday, 02.09.2012 at 20.00 CET
National Arena Philip II of Macedon in Skopje
Vardar
vs. Horizont Turnovo
Referee: Marjan Markoski (Ohrid)

Monday, 03.09.2012 at 16.30 CET
Sileks stadium in Kratovo
Sileks
vs. Teteks
Referee: Dimitar Mechkarovski (Skopje)

Standings | Fixtures & results

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