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Season review: FYROM

Published: Tuesday 28 June 2011, 11.34CET
Having gained promotion 12 months ago, FK Skendija 79 were the surprise Macedonian First League winners, while FK Metalurg Skopje claimed the Macedonian Cup.
by Emil Gasevski
from Skopje
Season review: FYROM
Skendija won their maiden title by an 11-point margin ©www.TeLajmi.com
Published: Tuesday 28 June 2011, 11.34CET

Season review: FYROM

Having gained promotion 12 months ago, FK Skendija 79 were the surprise Macedonian First League winners, while FK Metalurg Skopje claimed the Macedonian Cup.

FK Skendija 79 became the third successive maiden winners of the Macedonian First League, while also making history as the first club to do so after promotion. FK Metalurg Skopje finished as runners-up but lifted their first piece of silverware, winning the Macedonian Cup.

Champions: FK Skendija 79
Coach Qatip Osmani departed after just two games, only to return seven matches into the season following Edmond Miha's unsuccessful spell in charge. However, Osmani then guided the club to 19 wins and just one defeat from their remaining games to clinch the title by 11 points. Skendija also scored the most goals in the top flight (65), conceded the fewest (23) and remained unbeaten at home.

"It's a wonderful feeling, I am over the moon; at this moment I can't describe my joy," said Osmani. "This is our first title, which has come after many years of hard work. I must congratulate everybody, especially my players, as well as all the staff and, of course, our devoted fans who supported us throughout the season."

Cup final: FK Metalurg Skopje 2-0 FK Teteks
Metalurg deservedly won the first trophy in the club's history with victory against reigning champions Teteks. Marko Kostencovski and Aleksandar Tenekedziev capitalised on mistakes in the Teteks defence to clinch the win and make Zikica Tasevski the youngest coach to lift the Macedonian Cup. "It's a wonderful feeling," said 33-year-old Tasevski. "We really deserved to win the Macedonian Cup. Our enjoyment is even greater as this is the first major trophy that Metalurg have won."

European places
FK Skendija 79 – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FK Metalurg Skopje – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Renova – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FK Rabotnicki – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Feran Hasani (FK Skendija 79)
Hasani's first experience of top-flight football in his home country was a successful one, the 20-year-old earning UEFA.com's player of the year award for his part in Skendija's title-winning campaign. He scored 13 goals in 28 appearances and made his international debut against China in December before featuring as a substitute against the Republic of Ireland in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B.

One to watch: Ivan Nastevski (FK Vardar)
Labelled by some as 'The Macedonian Messi' due to his physical resemblance and similar style, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder made 27 appearances in the league and scored four goals while maintaining a self-belief that he can cut it in one of the continent's top leagues. Nastevski said: "My ambition is to join a big European club."

Surprise package: FK Skendija 79
After two seasons out of the top flight, Skendija returned in style, led by their former striker Osmani. With only a cup final appearance to their name, the club founded in 1979 in the north-western city of Tetovo had the most successful campaign in their short history. "At the beginning of the season it was a bit too optimistic to even think of winning the title," said Osmani. "But as each round went by it became more obvious to us that if we continued to perform consistently we could do it and we fully deserved the achievement."

Leading scorer: Hristijan Kirovski, FK Skopje (20)

Number: 2
The number of five-game winning streaks that Skendija put together in the final 13 games of the season.

Relegated: FK Pelister, FK Skopje

Promoted: FK 11 Oktomvri, FK Ohrid 2004

Quote
"Until I was 14 or 15 years old I was very little and fast. When I started playing football in Skendija's youth teams my friends immediately called me Buba, which means a small insect in Albanian. I grew up as a tall man but kept my speed, yet, in those days it didn't even cross my mind that Buba would become my name. Today almost no one calls me Feran."
FK Skendija's top scorer, Feran Hasani, explains his nickname.

Last updated: 08/07/11 16.57CET

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