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Vardar harder than the rest

Published: Tuesday 23 September 2008, 18.00CET
On fire after their first five league games of the season in F.Y.R. Macedonia, FK Vardar are on fire but top scorer Boban Jancevski said: "It is too early to think about the title. We have too many matches left to play."
by Igor Panevski
from Skopje
Vardar harder than the rest
Vardar celebrate a league win ©FFM
Published: Tuesday 23 September 2008, 18.00CET

Vardar harder than the rest

On fire after their first five league games of the season in F.Y.R. Macedonia, FK Vardar are on fire but top scorer Boban Jancevski said: "It is too early to think about the title. We have too many matches left to play."
On fire after their first five league games of the season in F.Y.R. Macedonia, FK Vardar are on fire but top scorer Boban Jancevski said: "It is too early to think about the title. We have too many matches left to play."

Flying start
When it comes to looking for early season favourites in the Prva Liga, one need look no further than Vardar. The Skopje-based side won the last of their five post-independence titles in 2002/03, but should they maintain their current form, their wait for a sixth may soon be over. They have won all five of their games to date, and scored at least three goals in each of them.

Positive momentum
Those victories include four at home and one away, a 3-1 triumph at last season's runners-up FK Milano – who were ranked among the favourites for this season's title. Jancevski said: "We are concentrating on improving the way we play and if we do that the results will come. We are taking it step by step but if we keep playing as well as this or better, we will probably finish top."

Exotic competition
The 30-year-old Jancevski, whose time abroad included spells with PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria and KSC Lokeren OV in Belgium, has been the undisputed star of Vardar's season to date, with seven goals in five league games, including an eleven-minute hat-trick in the 3-0 win against FK Pobeda. However, the league's top marksman faces some exotic competition from FK Makedonija GP Skopje.

Tall talent
Like Vardar – and indeed fourth-placed FK Rabotnicki – Makedonija are unbeaten so far this season, but while Vardar boast one outstanding striker, their Skopje rivals currently have two. Brazilians Washington and De Brito have scored nine of Rabotnicki's 16 goals between them, with Washington – who stands almost two metres tall – responsible for six of them.

Draw specialists
Reigning champions Rabotnicki have played a game more than Vardar and Makedonija but have earned an unwelcome reputation as draw specialists, with five ties and only one win. The club are hoping a move to sign former F.Y.R. Macedonia Under-21 forward Sasko Pandev – the younger brother of S.S. Lazio's Goran Pandev – from NK Dinamo Zagreb will improve things, but negotiations are ongoing.

Dzepciste battlers
With last season's surprise package, Milano, a place below Rabotnicki after losing their last two games, the surprise attractions of the new campaign have been third-placed FK Renova. Although they lost their unbeaten record with a 3-1 defeat at Vardar, the Dzepciste-based side are continuing to fly the flag for the provinces against the established capital sides.
Last updated: 23/09/08 22.49CET

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