Macedonia failed to use the home field advantage in Milevski’s debut as group leaders Armenia managed to hold our Lynx to a goalless draw.
photo by FFM: Jahovikj between Voskanyan & Grigoryan
In his first ever match as a senior national team coach Blagoja Milevski opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Stole Dimitrievski between the posts, Ezgjan Alioski and new captain Stefan Ristovski as lateral backs with Darko Velkovski and Visar Musliu as CBs. Tihomir Kostadinov and Elif Elmas formed a duo at midfield with Aleksandar Trajkovski as attacking midfielder, Darko Churlinov and Enis Bardhi on the wings and up front Adis Jahovikj.
The Macedonians dominated the opening 45 minutes, created few chances, but did not manage to find the back of the visiting net.
The first real chance came in the 29th minute when Ristovski attempted a header lob but Calisir cleared before the goal line into a corner kick. That corner brought a new chance when Elmas beautifully found Trajkovski who’s shot hit the outside of the net.
The Armenians were trying on counter attacks and few were promising, they failed to make a dangerous shot.
After the break nothing really changed. Macedonia kept the possession, Armenia went on counter attacks. After an hour of play Spirovski substituted Trajkovski, who was simply not sharp today.
Action all over in the 63rd minute. Alioski had a shot saved by the keeper. Then, Spirovski had a pass intercepted, leading to a dangerous counter from Armenia. Our players run back hard and were able to prevent what looked, at first, to be a golden opportunity for Armenia.
Armenia was giving up possession all the time, but possession means nothing when you can’t create anything. That is something Milevski will have to sort it out.
At 81st minute Milan Ristovski, younger brother of Stefan the captain, came in instead Jahovikj. Two minutes later Stefan Ashkovski stepped in for Kostadinov.
Other great chance came in the 90th minute. Elmas tried a shot that got blocked and on the rebound Alioski fired a great shot that was heading to the upper far corner, but on its way struck into Ashkovski and went near the far post.
The match ended goalless and Armenia earned that point. The Armenians sat deep, parked the bus and relied on counter attacks. Their strategy worked as they avoided defeat and frankly they looked more likely to score during the game. At yesterday’s press-conference captain Mkhitaryan said that Armenia comes here to win, however that was something that we didn’t see on the field.
This was the 11th encounter between Macedonia and Armenia and only the 3rd draw (interestingly, all are in Skopje). Macedonia has never played more matches against any other opponent, and the same goes for Armenia.
Other results in our group:
Liechtenstein – Germany 0:2
Iceland – Romania 0:2
Facts regarding this match:
- 35th appearance for Visar Musliu
- 12th match between Macedonia and Armenia
- 5th appearance for Stefan Ashkovski
- 4 years, 10 months and 28 days between Jahovikj’s previous and today’s NT match