Macedonia equaled its second highest victory ever after smashing Liechtenstein with 5:0 in the second round of the 2022 WC qualifiers.
photo by Igor Panevski / UEFA: Radeski, Nestorovski, Trajkovski and Elmas celebrate
After the unlucky 3:2 defeat away to Romania, coach Igor Angelovski opted for a different formation with 4 in the back line. Stefan Spirovski, Marjan Radeski and Aleksandar Trajkovski started instead of Boban Nikolov, Ilija Nestorovski and Egzon Bejtulai. Although it was expected, captain Goran Pandev did not got rested and got fielded instead.
The dead lock was broken after just 8 minutes when Bardhi fired from a free kick after Alioski got fouled. Visiting keeper Benjamin Büchel only partially caught the ball that ended in his net. Several minutes later Bardhi got close to a brace, but this time his free kick hit the crossbar.
Despite the initial pressure, Macedonian could not find another goal. In the 17th minute Liechtenstein got his one and only shot in the opening half when Yanik Frick forced Dimitrievski to make an easy save.
Unbelievably, but Angelovski did not make a single change on half-time. Obviously he was waiting for a bigger lead so instead of resting 37-year-old Pandev for the Germany match on Wednesday, he continued with the same eleven.
Luckily, six minutes after the break Bardhi lobed Büchel from left finding Trajkovski on an empty net. The later couldn’t miss and doubled the lead. Just three minutes later Trajkovski sealed the win with a strong shot.
Eventually Angelovski made changes when in the 58th minute Pandev, Bardhi and Ristovski came off for Nestorovski, Nikolov and Bejtulai.
In the 62nd minute Nestorovski poorly controlled a ball in the visiting box, but luckily Elmas took it and fired into the net making the score 4:0.
National team returnees Stefan Ashkovski and Ferhan Hasani substituted Alioski and Trajkovski and finally in a match Angelovski used all 5 possible subs.
Nine minutes from time Nikolov was brought down in the box by Martin Marxer and Macedonia got a penalty kick. Nestorovski stepped in and with a Panenka shot set the final 5:0.
Nestorovski Panenka goal:
Nothing else happened till the end so Macedonia clinched the first win and first 3 points in these qualifiers.
This is the second highest win for Macedonia, the same as that against Malta back in 2002 in a friendly. Our all time biggest win remains that historic 11:1 against the same opponent, Liechtenstein.
Interesting facts regarding this match:
- 75th overall win.
- 60th World Cup qualifying match.
- 50th match for Goran Pandev as captain.
- 40th appearance for Ferhan Hasani.
- 20th win for Igor Angelovski as national team coach.
- 17th & 18th goals for Aleksandar Trajkovski, becomes 2nd best goalscorer of all time.
- 10th match against Liechtenstein, most against any national team together with Albania and Armenia.
- 10th goal for Ilija Nestorovski, only the 6th player to get to double digit goals.
- 9th with against Liechtenstein, the most against any opponent.
- 6th goal for Enis Bardhi.
- 5th goal for Elif Elmas.
- 2nd converted penalty for Ilija Nestorovski.