Saturday, July 29, 2006

UEFA Cup run ends too soon for Croats & Macedonians

Unless Dinamo Zagreb and Rabotnicki Skopje end up in the UEFA Cup after Champions League Qualifying Round 3, both Croatia and Macedonia will be without a single representative in the UEFA Cup this season. After the rematch duels of the UFC 1st Qualifying Round, both Croatian and Macedonian representatives suffered elimination.

Croatian vice-champion falls in Nicosia
The 2:2 draw at Kantrida in the first leg didn't help Rijeka a single bit in their rematch with Omonia. In the second leg Croatian vice-champion simply couldn't find a way to outplay the Cyprus outift in Nicosia, and suffered a 2:1 defeat. The first goal fell after 60 minutes, when Musawengosi Mguni slotted the ball past Dragan Zilic, the same player set up the final score 2:1 in 88th min after Josip Lukunic leveled for Rijeka ten minutes earlier.

Tirana better than Varteks
Financialy troubled Varteks didn't have much luck either. Last season's 1.HNL third placed team suffered a 2:0 defeat in Albania, and got knocked out with a 3:1 score on aggregate. The scorers for FK Tirana in the rematch were Hamdi Salihi in 16th and substitute Eldorado Merkoci in the final moments of the game.

Bad start for Darko Pancev
Former Crvena zvezda striker and one of the most credited players for the "Crveno-Beli" winning the European title in 1991, Darko Pancev, suffered a major blow as the newly appointed chairman of Vardar Skopje. The Macedonian ''Little Giant'' got humiliated by Roeselare with even a 5:1 defeat in the 2nd leg, 7:2 on aggregate. Hopefully Dragan Kantlarovski who signed a new two year contract with Vardar will pull his team together in the time to come, and compete with Rabotnicki for the domestic title.

Honorable farewell by FK Makedonija
At Gradski Stadium in Skopje, FK Makedonija made a honorable farewell from the UEFA Cup. The players of Radmilo Ivancevic played a 1:1 draw with Lokomotiv Sofia, and had a chance to level the score from the first leg after Ismail Ismaili scored the opener for the 1:0 lead. However, the Bulgarians leveled the result in the 2nd half through Cvetan Genkov and advanced to the next stage with a 3:1 win on aggregate.

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