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Andorra achieve another first

Wednesday, 9 February 2005

By Igor Panevski

[1] Andorra avoided defeat away from home for the first time in competitive senior internationals as they gained another fine result against FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 1 rivals F.Y.R. Macedonia.

First chance

[2] The Macedonians lost 1-0 in Andorra in October - the home side's first tournament victory - and tonight, in freezing conditions in Skopje, the visiting side were put under pressure throughout but held on for a point. Indeed, they even had the first chance as Fernando Silva pounced on a slip by Nikolce Noveski and fed Marc Bernaus, who shot over.

Macedonian efforts

[3] On 21 minutes Andorra goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez was called into action as he stopped Aleksandar Vasoski's close-range shot following a scramble in the box. Soon after, Goran Pandev sent Mile Krstve free on goal but his effort from 12 metres out was high.

More saves

[4] Half-time did little to change the balance of the game and in the 54th minute Alvarez was again on hand to deny Artim Sakiri's shot from the edge of the area. F.Y.R. Macedonia defender Goce Sedloski was increasingly concentrating on attacking duties, and seven minutes from time was the latest to test Alvarez, but the goalkeeper again held firm.

Result confirmed

[5] There was almost a sucker punch in added time as Andorra counterattacked but Julí Sánchez shot off target. In the final seconds the home team had one last chance, but forward Dragan Cadikovski could not beat Alvarez from five metres out.

March fixtures

[6] Andorra, who remain in sixth - one point and one place behind today's opponents - will hope for a similar return when they visit bottom side Armenia on 26 March. F.Y.R. Macedonia's next opponents are Romania on 30 March, a day when Andorra welcome the Czech Republic.

Andorra's Escura Jordi (left) vies with Mile Krstev