Denmark withstood what their coach called a second-half "collapse" to hold on for three vital UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualfiying Group 4 points against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
At one of the venues for last year's final tournament, Aalborg Stadium, Denmark were 5-1 up at the break and soon added to that lead. But the visitors then fought back and with two minutes left were within a goal of the home side, who held on to remain within three points of leaders Serbia, with a game in hand and the visit of the leaders to come.
"The whole team collapsed in the second half even though we talked about not doing so at half-time," Denmark coach Morten Wieghorst said. "For us this was a huge lesson learned today. We can use this in the upcoming matches in this very tough group."
Mads Albæk put Denmark ahead from the spot on six minutes after FYROM goalkeeper Filip Gacevski fouled Mark Gundelach and Anders Christiansen then doubled the lead. The unmarked Erik Sviatchenko added a third on 25 minutes and although Stefan Spirovski responded immediately, Christiansen scored again and Nicklas Helenius made it 5-1 from a free-kick.
Having ripped FYROM apart in the first half, Denmark eased up in the second but Emil Larsen still claimed a sixth in the 55th minute. However, Ilija Nestorovski and Goran Bogdanoviс struck not long past the hour to halve the deficit, substitute Flamur Tairi scored another on 83 minutes and after Samir Fazli found the target, Denmark were grateful just to get a win.
They play their game in hand in the Faroe Islands on 15 August before the crucial visit of Serbia on 7 September, with two wins ensuring Denmark will top the group and make the play-offs. FYROM, who had led Denmark at kick-off, are now two points behind having played a game more, paying for a 1-1 draw in the Faroes on Friday.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.