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First win for F.Y.R. Macedonia

F.Y.R. Macedonia 3-1 Liechtenstein Nikola Ilievski's side come from behind to win.

Goce Sedloski, Mile Kristev and Aco Stoikov were all on target as Nikola Ilievski's F.Y.R. Macedonia side claimed their first victory from UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 7, which also includes England, Turkey and Slovakia.

Beck opens scoring
But the home side did not have it all their way as Liechtenstein took the lead after 18 minutes when Roger Beck blasted home from close range. Ralf Loose's side then showed that they can defend as well as they withstood some furious pressure from the home side. However, Macedonia did finally equalise six minutes before half-time when Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle brought down Aco Stoikov and Sedloski stepped up to fire home from the spot.

Stoikov shines
All square at the break, just six minutes of the second half had elapsed when midfield player Mile Kristev put the home side 2-1 up. The Macedonians then had several opportunities to increase the lead but had to wait until the 82nd minute before they could celebrate their third goal of the evening, Stoikov capping a fine display with a goal.

Liechtenstein cut adrift
The victory leaves Macedonia a point behind Slovakia in fourth place in Group 7, while Liechtenstein are now four points adrift at the bottom. Macedonia coach Nikola Ilievski said that he was pleased with the three points, but had expected his side to score more goals.

Mixed reaction
He said: "I'm satisfied with the result but not with how my players played. I expect them to score more goals in a game like this but we wasted too many chances. We didn't play in the way I had told my players before the game and I was also surprised that some players played below their capacity."

Loose satisfied
Liechtenstein coach Ralf Loose, meanwhile, was in a far better mood than his victorious counterpart. Loose said: "I am satisfied with my team. I am happy that we scored but we committed too many mistakes in defence. Overall I think we played well and I must congratulate my team as we have many new and inexperienced players."