The U21 teams of Azerbaijan and Macedonia shared the points in the opening qualifier for U21 Euro 2015 with a goalless draw.
Macedonia U21 kicked off a new qualifying campaign for the European Championships. The team, led once again by Boban Babunski, had their first game against Azerbaijan today.
The match was played at the Dalğa Arena in Baku, where a low number of fans turned up to see the game. Both teams had some good chances during the match but eventually it ended just like it started, 0:0.
The first half was a rather slow one, with no major chances on both ends. Nearing the end of the first half, Trajkovski and Ashkovski had an opportunity to open the scoreline, but their efforts were saved by the home keeper. Right before the end of the first half, the hosts had a solid opportunity, but a Macedonia defender managed to perform a sliding tackle before one of the attackers of the home team had a chance to shoot towards keeper Stole Dimitrievski.
In the second half, both teams started playing a bit more aggressively. Filip Timov had one of the better chances in the 58th minute when he freed himself from a defender and sent a good shot that was just inches wide of the goal. In the 65th minute, Stojan Stojchevski received his second yellow card, leaving Macedonia with 10 players on the pitch. Ever since that time, the home team was more active, but Stole Dimitrievski was alert and never allowed Azerbaijan to score. The hosts were trying to break down Macedonia’s defense but had a hard time and were trying mostly with long-range efforts, such as Təməltaş‘s shot in the 85th minute, while Macedonia was focused on defending the scoreline and attempting fast counter attacks. On such a counter, Macedonia had the best chance of the match in the 87th minute. Aleksandar Trajkovski was one on one with the keeper, but his shot was blocked. The rebound reached another Macedonian attacker, but his shot was also blocked. That was one of the last chances of the match and the score remained 0:0.
Dalğa Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan
Referee: Nikola Popov (Bulgaria)
Azerbaijan: Popoviç; Qarayev, Quliyev (61′ Əliyev), Abbasov, Yunuszadə, Abatsiyev, Təməltaş, Tağızadə (78′ Novruzov), Seyidov, Taşkın, Şanlı (56′ Ramazanov).
Macedonia: Dimitrievski; Alioski, Dragarski, Stojchevski, Ristovski, Ashkovski, Micevski, Blazhevski, Zhuta (72′ Cikarski), Timov (67′ Asani), Trajkovski (87′ Simonovski).
Yellow cards: Abbasov, Yunuszadə, Abatsiyev, Taşkın (A) – Dragarski, Stojchevski, Timov (M)
Red card: Stojchevski (M)