The first round of Seha league started with derby match. Skopje rivals clashed for the first time this season. Nobody wanted to take the role of favorite, but the title and reinforcements however meant that the “red&black” at least on paper have the advantage. Draw 28-28 (14-14) probably is most real result, although both teams had their good periods of play. Metalurg played without Darko Stanic, Renato Vugrinec, Velko Markoski, Nikola Markoski, Vanco Dimovski and Naumce Mojsovski, which means “half of Metalurg” stay on tribune. Lino Cervar promised to give a chance to the younger less experienced,so he made room in the squad for Martin Manaskov, Borjan Madzovski, Igor Mandic, Zarko Peshevski and Petar Topic.
Early stage Metalurg easily made 3 goals lead 6-3 in 9 minutes and seven minutes later was the highest goal deference for Macedonian vice-champion (11-7 and 12-9). When some fans thought that Vardar was “broken” and Metalurg will win, guests awoke. With serie 3-0 Vardar reduced to only one goal difference, 13-12. At the last minute the new left back in Vardar Rastvorcev scored for 14-14
At the start of the second half both teams played “goal by goal”, but then Vardar lost two balls as Metalurg wingers Goce Georgievski and Dejan Manaskov scored for 18-16. However, Vardar returned with 2 goals in a row, catching up the opponent on 18-18, and with perfect performance of Vardar’s left wing Timur Dibirov, guest team scored for lead 21-18.
Mirkulovski took matters into his own hands and Metalurg again returned into the game, so in 54 minute Dejan Manaskov put the ball in the net and Metalurg had one goal negative 24-25. However Vardar responded the right way, one of the most valuable Vardar players of the last season, centre back, Nemanja Pribak restored the lead at plus two, 24-26 . Vardar again had three goals lead, 24-27 but Manaskov scored two goals and the game entered into uncertain finish.
Georgievski score for equalizer, 27-27, and the goalkeeper Nikola Mitrevski with fantastic save kept the Dibirov penalty shot out of his goal. Although there was a player less for Metalurg in their last attack of the game, they used the confusion in Vardar’s defence and Metalurg young pivot Zarko Peshevski was fault in the 6 meter zone, which meant penalty . Zlatko Mojsoski realize the 7 meters shot, but Dibirov quickly response by reaching the final equalizer 28-28.
It would be safe to say that Vardar’s goalkeepers Milic and Daskalovski didn’t have their day, with a percentage of saves not worth mentioning, on the other side Metalurg had solid goalkeeper in Macedonian NT goalkeeper Nikola Mitrevski. The best is still to come since first goalkeepers of both teams, Malumbres and Stanic, were watching the game from the stands
Statements after the match:
Zoran Kastratovic – Vardar coach
” What happened in those 60 minutes is the time of creation, preparation for Vardar . Many players came, and we ask for more time and patience . We have two weeks until the first battle of the Champions League .This evening Metalurg was a better opponent in the first half, and we had our best minutes in the second half . We had a chance to solve the match in middle of second half trough penalty by Markovic, but I think that draw is the real result”
Zlatko Daskalovski – Vardar goalkeeper
“We were aware that we should expect tough match. We slightly underestimated Metalurg when we saw player’s names on court. We need more time for practicing and in the future will be more compact.
Lino Cervar – Metalurg coach
“Both teams show great sacrifice. During the first half we were better, Vardar maybe in the second half . It was drama at the end, but the result was real. On this match we played without several players, brothers Markoski are injured , Stanic not train for a week because of back pain, and Vugrinec had stomach virus and not want to risk.