The Macedonian U21 national team suffered a defeat from the group top favourites, the Netherlands.
photo by FFM: Metodi Maksimov in action against the Netherlands
Coach Dragan Kanatlarovski did not make drastic changes in the starting lineup compared to the first qualifying match four days ago against Sweden. It was the same 3-5-2 formation with Marko Alchevski on the goal, Reshat Ramadani, Andrej Stojchevski and Stefan Despotovski as center backs, Behar Feta as left and Metodi Maksimov as right wing back, Hamza Ramani as a defensive midfielder, Ivan Nikolov and Luka Stankoski as offensive midfielders, captain Mario Ilievski in the attack as well as the only new name in the starting lineup – Vane Krstevski replacing Berat Kalkan in the offensive line.
Macedonia started the game well, allowing the Netherlands have the majority of the ball possession but defending well and not letting them create any dangerous chances or attempts on goal. Despite the visitors having most of the initiative in the first halftime, it was in fact Macedonia who created the most quality chances for scoring a goal, but the attempts of Krstevski, Stankovski and Nikolov were unfortunately fruitless.
The second halftime continued the same way as the first, but things turned around when Ohio scored rather unexpectedly for the Netherlands in the 68th minute, and only 4 minutes later the guests doubled the lead through a penalty goal. After those fast 2 goals from the group favorite, the battle on the field cooled off and the 0:2 scoreline remained unchanged till the end of the match.
It is also worth noting that two days prior the match, coach Dragan Kanatlarovski made one change in the squad as he removed Kristijan Tasevski due to disciplinary issue, and he sent an additional call up for Tikvesh’s recent signing, Imran Fetai.
Macedonia: Marko Alchevski; Stefan Despotovski, Andrej Stojchevski, Reshat Ramadani, Metodi Maksimov (80′ Martin Talakov), Hamza Ramani (80′ Matej Angelov), Behar Feta, Luka Stankovski (69′ Dimitar Todorovski), Ivan Nikolov, Vane Krstevski (69′ Luan Abazi), Mario Ilievski (c) (59′ Berat Kalkan). Bench: Ivan Nikoloski, Imran Fetai, Mihail Dimitrievski, Mario Richkov.
In the third round of the qualifications, Macedonia will travel to Chișinău where they will face Moldova on 17th of October.