The most exciting season in the 21-year history of the Macedonian First League reaches its denouement on Sunday with a winner-takes-all title decider between reigning champions FK Vardar and second-placed FK Turnovo.
Vardar had the chance to secure the title in the penultimate round, but fluffed their lines in the 1-1 draw at FK Metalurg Skopje, leaving the door ajar for Turnovo, who closed the gap to two points with a 3-0 home win against FK Rabotnicki. Victory on the final day of the season would see Turnovo steal the title by a point, but it will be no easy task, having to defeat the league's most successful club on their own patch.
Success would be a remarkable story for Turnovo, a club from a village with barely 500 inhabitants in the south east of the country. The 180km trip north on Sunday, will give the squad plenty of time to think over what a first ever title would mean.
"We have already qualified for Europe, and for a small club like us, that is like winning the UEFA Champions League," club president Orce Todorov told UEFA.com. "Still, after we have managed to get this far, only one game from the title, there is no turning back. We are going to Skopje to win the first major piece of silverware in our club's history."
Turnovo's 18-goal top scorer this season, Dejan Blazevski, is also in a positive mood: "Ahead of us is an historic chance and we will do everything in our power to take it. Vardar is a team with great quality, but they are not invincible and I believe we will show that on Sunday."
Spirits are high at Turnovo, but their task will not be straightforward against the six-time Macedonian champions. Vardar inflicted Turnovo's biggest defeat of the season in September by a 5-1 scoreline.
Vardar's coach Blagoja Milevski knows that this time around even a draw against their only remaining challengers will taste as sweet as a victory. "We are in pole position, we have a two point advantage and we will do everything to defend the title in front of our supporters," he said.
Attacking midfielder Predrag Randjelović is of a similar opinion. "We did not have the luck to secure the title with one game to spare, but it is nothing tragic, because it is best to celebrate on our own ground."
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