Today the young Lions played the second game in the new U21 qualifications, our first at home, unfortunately the game at the Petar Miloshevski training center in the Macedonian capital city Skopje ended in a loss against Serbia.
Compared to the match away to Armenia, coach Blagoja Milevski this time had Elif Elmas and Nikola Gjorgjev from the senior national team available. Both of them made the start. The defense was the same with Jovan Popzlatanov at right-back, Alex Simovski on the left side and Cheshmedjiev and Amanovikj in the central. Totre and Elmas were fielded in defensive midfield, while Gjorgjev played in attacking midfield. On the right wing started Tihomir Kostadinov who made an impressive game against Armenia, while Petkovski from Vardar played on the other side. Remzifaik Selmani was brought on at centre-forward, and it was him who wore today the captain armband.
The first half started slowly as both sides were focused on the defense. Gjorgjev had the first big chance for Macedonia when he almost netted a goal similar like the one at the U21 EURO in Poland. He dribbled from the left side and fired a shot from just outside the box, but the Serbian goalie was there to save the shot. Afterwards Serbia had more of the game and it resulted in the first goal of the game. Nemanja Radonjić sent a ball to Lukić who netted from close range in the 22nd minute. 15 Minutes later the visitors scored their second goal when Andrija Živković fired a shot from around 20 metres.
Our team began the second half with the same players. The first change was made in the 57th minute when Boban Georgiev was introduced for Selmani, and just three minutes later it was Georgiev who hade a good chance when he took a shot from inside the box, but the goalkeeper deflected the ball. Some minutes later it was again Georgiev who first fired a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area and also had another opportunity, but frittered away the ball. In the 66th minute Emil Abaz came on for Petkovski. Macedonia tried to made some pressure, but wasn’t able dominate the game, thus Serbia continued to control tha game without too much effort. Besart Krivanjeva took the place of injured Simovski in the 79th minute, while in the 82nd minute Georgiev had Macedonia’s last concrete chance of the game with a right-footed shot. Four minutes later Cheshmedjiev left the pitch because of his second yellow card, it happened when he tried to end a counter attack. Eventually, no more goals were scored and Serbia deservedly won the game.
Macedonia’s next game is upcoming Tuesday away to Gibraltar, a must win for our team to stay in the race for a spot on the EURO in Italy and San Marino. Due to Cheshmedjiev’s suspension and the plan to bring back Elmas and Gjorgjev to the senior national team there will be at least three changes in the starting line-up. Let’s hope that today’s loss won’t demotivate the young lions.