The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ended a run of four successive UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying defeats with their first victory under the tenure of new coach John Toshack.
The former Wales and Real Madrid CF coach had overseen his side's 1-0 defeat by Russia on Friday, but it was a different story in Skopje as FYROM inflicted the same outcome on Andorra thanks to a second-half strike by Mirko Ivanovski.
Weakened by the suspensions of captain Goran Pandev, Nikolce Noveski and Muhamed Demiri, the hosts required the better part of an hour to find their breakthrough, but they could have made less heavy weather of their victory had Ivanovski managed to score in their very first attack. Instead, the striker could only fire straight at José Antonio Gómes from barely five metres out.
The visiting goalkeeper was in for a busy night and did as well to turn Goran Popov's 25-metre free-kick wide of the post on 24 minutes as he did to deny Ivanovski early in the second half. Gómes was powerless to stop Daniel Mojsov's header, set up by Agim Ibraimi's right-wing cross, but the defender missed his intended target.
The hosts' frustration was deepening and their predicament was almost compounded by a goal for Andorra, who, against the run of play, fashioned a chance for Oscar Sonejee. The visiting captain glanced Marc Vales's pinpoint cross a fraction wide, however. Perhaps chastened by that near miss, FYROM pounced just three minutes later, Ivanovski taking advantage of hesitation in the area to bury the chance that fell his way after Andorra failed to clear Aleksandar Trajkovski's corner.
The hosts spurned the chance to make the match safe on 67 minutes when Ivan Trickovski weaved his way down the left wing and shot just wide of the near post. There would be no second goal for FYROM, but the long-awaited win was reward enough. Toshack's side, who travel to Armenia on 7 October before taking on Slovakia four days later, remain fifth in Group B – ten points adrift of leaders Russia and a place above Andorra, who finish their campaign against the Republic of Ireland and Russia.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.