FYR Macedonia edge Andorra for first win

FYR Macedonia secured the first win of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign as a goal in each half from Ilco Naumoski and Vance Sikov proved the difference in Andorra.

Mirsad Jonuz's side have bounced back positively from an opening defeat to Slovakia, drawing 2-2 at home to Armenia prior to tonight's triumph at the Estadi Comunal in Andorra la Vella.

Naumoski's strike came three minutes before half-time while Sikov made the game safe on the hour mark to leave the home side point-less from their opening three matches following defeats to Russia and the Republic of Ireland in their previous Group B outings.

Andorra were looking for a positive result having gained their first-ever competitive win against the Macedonians in a FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in October 2004. They were the first to threaten in the 38th minute when Cristian Martinez's cross-cum-shot had to be guided round the post by Macedonia goalkeeper Edin Nuredinovski.

Four minutes later the hosts were behind when Naumoski headed home Mario Gjurovski's corner from the left. Gjurovski then drew a good save from Andorra goalkeeper Jose Antonio Gomes early in the second half and it became one-way traffic as the eastern Europeans sought to kill off the game.

Gomes was kept busy as he denied Stevica Ristic on a 55th-minute counter-attack and then kept out a shot from the edge of the area from Ivan Trickovski two minutes later. The home defence was breached again in the 60th minute though when another Gjurovski corner found a Macedonian head, this time Cyprus-based defender Sikov.

Andorra did not fold and Nuredinovski had to be alert to keep out efforts from Sebastian Gomez and substitute Manolo Jimenez. Filip Despotovski could have added a third goal for Macedonia but was denied by Gomes from Trickovski's cross, and then the same player directed a shot wide in the final seconds.

It was a solid win for Macedonia, achieved without their injured Inter Milan star Goran Pandev, and sets them up nicely to take on Russia in Skopje on Tuesday.