Unbelievable match for Macedonia in Reykjavík where our players played and dominated for 78 minutes leading with 2:0 and then the inexplicable happened, Iceland scored twice and won a point.
photo by FFM: the Macedonians celebrate Velkovski’s opened
For this match coach Blagoja Milevski made two changes from the Armenian game benching Trajkovski and Jahovikj and fielding M. Ristovski and Spirovski. He also changed the formation moving from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 with Stole Dimitrievski between the posts, Ezgjan Alioski and captain Stefan Ristovski as lateral backs with Darko Velkovski and Visar Musliu as CBs; in the midfield Elif Elmas, Enis Bardhi and Stefan Spirovski, Darko Churlinov as left winger, Tihomir Kostadinov as right winger and Milan Ristovski as central forward. On the bench, Bojan Miovski was added replacing Nikola Gjorgjev who together with fourth keeper Risto Jankov had to watch the match from the stands. Boban Nikolov had to miss this match as well, due top the lack of trainings after his COVID-19 positive test isolation.
Throughout the entire first half the Macedonians were the better opponent. Not that Iceland did not want to win the match, but simply Macedonia was better with the ball and had the possession. Iceland never managed to test Dimitrievski as they failed to hit the target despite firing a shot even in the very first minute.
First Musliu missed a chance to break the deadlock when in the 11. minute his shot from inside the area was blocked by Brynjar Bjarnason for a corner kick. That corner lead to another corner, both taken by Alioski, and the second lead to a header goal by Velkovski – Macedonia took a 1:0 lead.
Macedonia continued to control the game flow and tried to double the lead through Alioski and Kostadinov. The first half ended with the one goal lead.
After the break the same situation continued and in the 54th minute came the second goal. Alioski took a ball and decided to penetrate by himself ending with a shot past Rúnarsson for 0:2.
It seemed that Macedonia will take the points, for the first time after a draw and defeat at Iceland. However, a mistake by keeper Dimitrievski in the 78th minute complicated things. Albert Guðmundsson fired a long shot free kick, the ball was spinning out the goal when Dimitrievski decided to react and on the rebound Brynjar Bjarnason scored for 1:2.
That goal gave a huge boost for the Icelandic players. But first newly introduced Trajkovski was unlucky to be denied a goal on his birthday as he hit the woodwork in the 82nd minute. Just two minutes later Iceland equalized. The son of legendary player Eiður Guðjohnsen, 19-year-old Andri Guðjohnsen had just entered the pitch and scored using the indecision by the home defense.
After the equalizer both teams went for a win, but neither managed to add a winner. Churlinov had to best chance to do that in the injury time, but his header was clear from the goal line by Brynjar Bjarnason, who definitely deserved to be man of the match.
The other two matches in our group were player later at 20.45 CET:
Germany – Armenia 6:0
Romania – Liechtenstein 2:0
Facts regarding this match:
- 70th appearance for Stefan Ristovski
- 70th appearance for Aleksandar Trajkovski
- 10th goal for Ezgjan Alioski
- 2nd goal for Darko Velkovski