By Igor Panevski
Macedonian First League champions FK Rabotnicki brushed aside Latvian opponents Skonto FC with a 6-0 victory - a national record in UEFA club competition.
As early as the fourth minute, a free-kick by Stojan Ignatov led to Skonto's Aaron Nguimbat hitting his own crossbar with an attempted clearance. Then, on 28 minutes, Vance Trajcov and Goran Maznov linked up but Trajcov could not convert the chance.
It took just two more minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Rabotnicki defender Igor Kralevski's header found the target. Skonto had to wait a further six minutes for their first opening, a free-kick by Levan Korgalidze which was saved by goalkeeper Filip Madzovski.
Rabotnicki continued to dominate as Ignatov scored a 56th-minute penalty before striker Ardijan Nuhiji made it three on 65 minutes. Trajcov put the tie behind all doubt 21 minutes from time before Maznov made it five after good work from Ivan Pejcic. With six minutes left Nuhiji scored his second and Rabotnicki's sixth.
"I want to congratulate my players," said Rabotnicki coach Gjore Jovanovski. "This is a great result and we have a chance to progress but we must play patiently next week. Many larger teams have been eliminated after having big advantages."
Skonto coach Jurijs Andrejevs conceded: "I didn't expect this kind of play from Rabotnicki. We were surprised and completely outplayed. Their forward line was great, all the team played very well and I must congratulate our opponents."