The FYR Macedonians won in Turkey with a splendid second half and got close to the group stage.
Metalurg made big step
The FYR Macedonian champion, Metalurg Skopje, can start putting money apart for flight tickets to Barcelona, Kiel and Dramen after they have beaten Izmir in Turkey by 33-29 (CL qualification first leg).
The second CL participation of Metalurg could become official this weekend in Skopje. With the kind of performance that Metalurg showed in Izmir, the FYR Macedonian team are absolute favourites.
Both reinforcements, goalkeeper Danilo Brestovac and right back Aleksandar Stanojevic, contributed to turning the game in the second half. When it was necessary, Brestovac saved shots with his head and stopped two crucial 7-m shots when Metalurg pushed stronger. Stanojevic scored 8 goals from 10 shots, all in the second half. He substituted Filip Mirkulovski, best player in the first 30 minutes. As the Izmir players were just watching him, Stanojevic easily scored from every position.
"I think Izmir are already eliminated. We underestimated them at the beginning and we had problems. We should play in the same form at home, we'll enter in game more cautiously and prepare. We have the potential and a good team to play in the CL group, but we need to finish work,” said Danilo Brestovac who returned to Metalurg after five years in France.
The game had two different faces for Metalurg. The guests went for the victory from the early minutes, but made many technical mistakes allowing Izmir to stay in the game. Izmir made use of every Metalurg mistake and scored several goals in a row. Izmir were even leading by 16-12.
Filip Mirkulovski was an enigma for Izmir in the first half. The playmaker scored, gave assists and stood firm in defence. The home players played very aggressively, on the other hand.
Izmir still had a chance to win until the 52nd minute, but Stanojevic took responsibility and continued to score. Zivkovic, Canturija and Malcev also did well at the end.
Zvonko Sundovski starts his carrier with Metalurg successfully. The coach comments:
"It is obvious that we are better team. We had some videos about the Izmir players, but now we have seen them for the first time. We need time to prepare with a better defence. I hope we'll be there in the CL group matches.”
TEXT: Goran Antevski
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