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Rabotnichki falls short in 1:0 loss to Flora

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Moments after the Flora goal; photo: ohtuleht.eeMoments after the Flora goal; photo: ohtuleht.eeJust like Renova on Tuesday, Rabotnichki began its Europa League qualifications campaign with a 1:0 loss.

Another poor display for a Macedonian club in the Europa League qualifications. This time it was Rabotnichki. One unexpected burden for the club was the absence of central defender Kire Ristevski. He was not cleared by UEFA. It appears Tirana, his former club, still seems to be contesting his departure, so his certificate did not arrive. Therefore, with his absence and the transfer of Darko Velkovski to Vardar, Rabotnichki was very thin at the position. Milovan Petrovikj, usually a midfielder, was fielded in defense.

The opening half saw few chances as both teams could only create one dangerous moment. Flora was first in the 13th minute when one of their players completely whiffed on connecting with the ball from inside the area. Meanwhile, Rabotnichki nearly scored a spectacular goal in the 33rd minute when a long range free kick by Milan Ilievski whistled inches wide of the left post

Rabotnicki had more of the possession, but they were not threatening in open play. Flora would eventually get the breakthrough at the hour mark when Maksim Gussev sent a header past goalkeeper Andreja Efremov. Flora gained in confidence after the goal and created two chances over the next five minutes.

Flora celebrates after their goalFlora celebrates after their goal

In the 77th minute, after a bad giveaway by Flora, substitute Kire Markoski almost scored an equalizer, but his shot went narrowly wide from the target.

Flora accomplished its goal for this game by notching a win and not conceding a goal. Due to the aways goals rule, home teams that keep a clean sheet in the first leg put themselves in a great position. The return leg takes place next Thursday in Skopje, Macedonia.

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