Despite the brave and offensive play, Macedonia suffered a disappointing 5:0 defeat by Spain in their first game ever on an EURO final tournament.
Coach Blagoja Milevski decided not to change anything when it comes to the starting formation and lineup and started the game with the usual 4-2-3-1 formation and the 11 starters that played the main role throughout the biggest part of the qualifications: Aleksovski; Demiri, Zajkov, Velkovski, Bejtulai; Bardi, Nikolov; Markoski, Babunski, Radeski; Angelov.
The anthems before kick-off:
Macedonia immediately started with an offensive play, but it didnt take very long until Spain Spain’s vice-captain Saul Niguez scored an attractive goal with scissors that gave his team an early lead after only 10 minutes. Only 6 minutes later, the Real Madrid player Marco Asensio showed off his world class skills and scored an amazing long range goal that left Aleksovski unable to do anything to prevent it. As the game went on, Macedonia kept making new chances and trying to score, but all the attempts were without a realisation. Meanwhile, in the 36th minute, Spain got to score yet another goal, this time from a penalty kick after Bejtulai played with his hand in the penalty area. After the start of the second half, Milevski decided on two substitutions, bringing in Elmas and Gjorgjev on the places of Angelov and Markoski. However, this did not change much in the game as only 9 minutes in the second half, Spain scored their 4th goal, once again through Asensio. Later on, the same player managed to collect a hat-trick after scoring his third goal in the 72nd minute, setting the final 5:0 score for Spain.
Despite the big defeat, it still remains that Macedonia played very brave and offensive and kept fighting throughout the entire game, coming the closest to score a goal in the 56th minute when Babunski hit the frame of the goal. In the end, Macedonia finished the game with entire 24 attempts for goal (which is more than double than the 11 attempts by Spain), but unfortunately all of them were with no realization, whereas Spain’s realization was clinical.
The players will now need to move on fast from this loss and try to keep up their confidence and motivation, as only in 3 days they will be facing Serbia in the second round of the tournament. Serbia also suffered a loss in the first round (2:0 to Portugal), meaning that this will be a big battle between the both teams for collecting their first points and for keeping the chances for passing the group stage.
Highlights of Portugal – Serbia:
Macedonia U21: 1. Igor Aleksovski; 19. Besir Demiri, 5. Gjoko Zajkov, 14. Darko Velkovski, 15. Egzon Bejtulai; 7. Enis Bardi, 8. Boban Nikolov; 17. Kire Markoski (46′ 22. Nikola Gjorgjev),10. David Babunski (C) (75′ 20. Tihomir Kostadinov), 9. Marjan Radeski; 18. Viktor Angelov (46′ 2. Elif Elmas).