FK Renova made light of their recent disappointing record against FK Rabotnicki to complete a 3-1 victory and win the Macedonian Cup for the first time in their nine-year history.
In the last two months the capital club have twice beaten Renova with ease, registering 5-1 and 3-1 triumphs, but it proved third time lucky for Vlatko Kostov's charges, who survived a Rabotnicki fightback by producing two second-half goals at the Gradski Stadium.
Despite this being their maiden appearance in the cup final, the side from Dzepciste showed no sign of nerves and took the lead on 12 minutes through Muarem Bajrami, who headed in Argjent Gafuri's corner from close range.
Fisnik Nuhiu passed up the chance to double the lead nine minutes later when, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he fired over. Renova continued to dominate the first half and had another golden opportunity five minutes before the break, but Goran Siljanovski's shot from the edge of the box flew just wide of the right-hand post.
A subdued Rabotnicki carved out their first chance in added time, when a curled shot from their top scorer, Borče Manevski, skimmed the bar. However, Manevski made no such error at the second time of asking, heading in Blagoja Todorovski's right-wing cross on 53 minutes.
Unfazed by the setback, Renova restored their advantage midway through the second half when Dušan Simovski latched on to Nuhiu's through ball. Gafuri put the seal on his side's maiden cup triumph with a solo effort deep into added time.
Renova's victory earns them a place in next season's UEFA Europa League first qualifying round, while 2008 and 2009 winners Rabotnicki – appearing in their fourth cup final – will miss out on UEFA competition for the first time in eight years.
"We expected a tough match because we lost our last two games against them," Nuhiu told UEFA.com. "Nevertheless, we played at our best when we needed to and in the end fully deserved this historic triumph. I would like to thank my team-mates, the fans, the staff and especially our coach Kostov, who always knows how to prepare and motivate us."
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