On Saturday, four games involved teams that feature a Macedonian international on their respective roster. Here is a recap of how they did:
In England, Goran Popov was handed his first start under West Brom caretaker manager Keith Downing in FA Cup action against Crystal Palace. Downing rotated the squad with a number of new starters considering that multiple matches were played over the past week-and-a-half. Popov started at left-back, but made a mistake on the opening goal for Crystal Palace in the 23rd minute. After a bad clearance by Popov, the visiting side strung a quick pass leading to a goal by Dwight Gayle. Crystal Palace eventually celebrated a 0:2 road victory with Marouane Chamakh netting the second goal deep into stoppage time of the 90th minute. Popov played the entire game for West Brom, but he faced heavy criticism on social media from the club’s supporters after making the error that led to the first Crystal Palace goal. The loss eliminated West Brom for this season’s FA Cup competition.
Armend Alimi, a former member of the Macedonian national team, was also in action on Saturday with his club team Ermis. Ermis, who has been the biggest surprise in Cyprus this season, defeated Alki 1:2 on the road to add three more points to their tally. Ermis now has 30 points after 15 rounds, trailing the leaders AEL Limassol by just 4 points. In Saturday’s game, Alimi played 75 minutes in central midfield before being substituted by Marcos De Azevedo. Alimi had one quality chance in the 40th minute, but his shot from a good position was saved by the Alki keeper.
Stole Dimitrievski, as we reported yesterday, found himself on the bench for Granada in Saturday’s clash against Almeria. It was the first time in his career that he was included in the matchday squad of Granada’s first team in Spain’s top flight. The 20-year-old Dimitrievski served as the #2 keeper behind Orestis Karnezis, but his club went down in a resounding fashion with a 3:0 loss against Almeria.
Finally, the last game that featured a Macedonian international on Saturday took place in Greece’s second division. Ethnikos Gazoros, the team of Ivan Nastevski, dueled in a road encounter against Aiginiakos. Nastevski played all 90 minutes for Ethnikos Gazoros in a match that would finish 1:1. Ivan had his best chance in the 44th minute, but his shot wound up narrowly wide of the left goal post.
On Sunday, just two Macedonian internationals are scheduled to have a game with their respective teams. Those two players are Agim Ibraimi and David Babunski. Ibraimi and Cagliari square off against Chievo in Serie A action, while Babunski and Barcelona B are slated to face Alcorcón.