Macedonia is waking up today to the realization that it eliminated Italy from the World Championship qualifications. Macedonia scored a historic win in Palermo. After holding off the incessant Italian attacks for most of the game, just as the home team was preparing for overtime, Trajkovski scored in the 92nd minute for the win! Italy was dominant, but the Macedonian defense held firm, frustrating the opponent, and quick counter-attacks exposed their own goal.
Dimitrieski made some crucial saves at the goal, but was also helped by excellent interventions from the other defensive players when he would occasionally fumble. Trajkovski showed that Macedonia can win this when he fired at the Italian goal in the final minutes of the first half, only to be denied by Donnarumma. In the second half, Italy went for its expected win, but as their attacks kept coming up empty, they grew more and more frustrated. Berardi was the most active attacker for the home team, but Alioski blocked his most promising shot.
And just as the French referees announced the five minutes extra time, Macedonia saw its chance. Trajkovski fired from 20 meters, between three Italian players to score the opposite corner of the goal narrowly beating Donnarumma. The few thousand Macedonian fans, who supported our team throughout the game, exploded in joy. Italy deliberately set the game in far away Palermo to limit the number of Macedonian fans that would take the long drive, but in the end, it was them that left the stadium overjoyed, while the home team walked out in silence.
Next up is Portugal in Porto on Tuesday. Macedonia will be strengthened by the return of Elmas and is hoping to make another major upset.