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3.MFL East ends as Belasica dominates (Analysis)

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The players of Belasica celebrate after a win; photo: FK BelasicaThe players of Belasica celebrate after a win; photo: FK BelasicaThe third third league that went on a winter break is the East where sleeping giant Belasica has a decent lead at the top and is finally about to move up in the second league.

With 15 participants the third league East is the most numbered group of all the five third leagues. However, one team failed to continue to play: it is the team of newly promoted Konche Birlik who after getting smashed from game to game decided that it is the best to simply quit. Smart decission having in mind the defeats of 24:0, 15:1, 10:0 etc. They quit after Round 9 with all of their remaining matches being awarded.

Half-season winners - Belasica is the autumn champion ending at the top with 39 points, with 1 defeat, no draws and 13 wins. They were only defeated in the road game in Radovish by second-placed Plachkovica with minimal 1:0. In the 14 games they managed to score incredible 66 goals and concede only 6!

Second-place - Half-season runners-up is the team of Plachkovica who two seasons in a row finished second. They are 6 points behind Belasica with a score of 11 wins, no draws and 3 defeats. As mentioned above, they beat Belasica ta home, while all the losses they recorded were road games against Kit-Go, Sasa and Ovche Pole. Same as the leaders, they have a granit defence with only 6 conceded goals.

Promotion - Despite that the 6 point difference is attainable, we believe that Belasica is the firm favourite to win the league. Unlike the third leagues North, West and South-west, due to the new format of the second league next season it is clear that the champion of the East will get promoted directly. Next season there will be two groups in the second league, group East and group West with 10 teams each. The third league East is of course affiliated with the second league East. In their favour is the fact that 4 of the 10 current second league teams belong to the East and only 3 of the 10 current first league teams, which makes many combinations of the possible look of the second league East next season with several open places among which two guaranteed for the East and South champions. The places from 2 to 4 from both East and South may (but not necessarily) also get promoted depending on which teams will get relegated from the upper leagues. But that will be known after the season ends and the first two leagues will be concluded.

Half-season standings (click to enlarge)Half-season standings (click to enlarge)

Regelation - As for all third leagues, due to the problem mentioned above it is unclear how many teams will be relegated or even if any team will face relegation.

Underperformers - Third season in a row Sloga 1934 from Vinica is among the bottom positions. This team fought for promotion in the 2013/14 season ending up second, but instead of continuing the fight they are only going downhill. It is the same story for Osogovo who after the relegation from the second league fifth season in a row is away from the top. At least now if they have some luck may get promoted even without being first as they are currently fifth with 6 points away from second-placed Plachkovica.

Surprise - Sasa definitely! The team from Makedonska Kamenica ended up 3rd with 31 points and even defeated Plachkovica. The club that in the 90s was a stable first league side is playing their best season since 1996/97 when they ended 5th in the first league. In 2000/01 they got relegated into the second league where they stayed only two seasons and later even ceased to exist for some time. In 2009/10 they eventually appeared again and seems like now they are ready to fight for a place in the second league. The winter break stopped their winning run of 5 games that started after Belasica celebrated a hardly earned 2:1 over them in Strumica.

Goalscorers - As Belasica is by far the team with most goals scored, it is normal that the top scorer is from that team. Boban Marikj managed to score a third of the 66 goals his team scored, 22 to be more precise. However, we must mention that 9 of them he scored in the 24:0 humiliating of the poor Konche Birlik.

Top 5 scorers:
22
Boban Marikj (Belasica)
13
Gjorgji Zarevski (Plachkovica)
Mile Kostovski (Belasica)
12
Jordancho Trendafilov (Ovche Pole)
9
Kemal Alomerovikj (Belasica)
Stefan Atanasov (Sasa)

Own goals - Despite the big number of matches played, only 2 own goal were scored. Interestingly, none of them came from the players of Konche Birlik, the worst team in the league.

1
Nikolcho Janovski (Malesh)
Ilija Petrov (Vasilevo)

Discipline - A total of 390 yellow and 30 red cards were shown in the 98 matches. Only Konche Birlik did not get a red card, but that team played only 7 of the 14 matches. Belasica and Ovche Pole are the overall most disciplined teams with only 18 yellow cards and 1 red. The most undisciplined team is Bregalnica Golak who tops everyone in both yellow and red cards. Only one player twice managed to get expelled.

Yellow cards (by club):
38 - Bregalnica Golak
35 - Tiverija
33 - Osogovo, Rabotnik Djumajlija
31 - Kit-Go, Malesh, Vasilevo
29 - Napredok
26 - Sasa
23 - Rudar
21 - Plachkovica
18 - Belasica, Ovche Pole
17 - Sloga 1934
6 - Konche Birlik

Red cards (by club):
6 - Bregalnica Golak
4 - Kit-Go, Tiverija
3 - Sloga 1934
2 - Rudar, Sasa, Vasilevo
1 - Belasica, Malesh, Napredok, Osogovo, Ovche Pole, Plachkovica, Rabotnik Djumajlija

Yellow cards (by player):
5
Aleksandar Ilevski (Bregalnica Golak)
Mitar Sokolovski (Sasa)
Darko Aleksovski (Sasa)

Red cards (by player):
2
Aleksandar Goshev (Tiverija)

Players - Six players were 100% regular this half-season. They played the whole 90 minutes in each round their team played and were never substituted. With Konche Birlik forfeiting 7 of their games, some players do not have the maximum of 14 games. Even one player from the problematic team made the list.

Most regular players:
14/14 - Boban Atanasovski (Sasa)
14/14 - Petar Mitev (Napredok)
13/13 - Aleksandar Kostov, Todor Miroslavev, Ile Sinev (Ovche Pole)
7/7 - Serhan Nanushev (Konche Birlik)

Biggest wins - Of course, the biggest win is the record-scoring game when Belasica scored 24 goals past the doomed team of Konche Birlik. Absolute record in all leagues around Macedonia this season.

Belasica - Konche Birlik 24:0
Ovche Pole - Konche Birlik 15:1
Sasa - Konche Birlik 10:0
Malesh - Konche Birlik 9:2
Belasica - Rudar 7:0
Vasilevo - Belasica 0:7
Konche Birlik - Plachkovica 0:7
Bregalnica Golak - Napredok 6:0
Kit-Go Rudar 6:0

Highest scoring games - The biggest win is also the highest scoring game. And most probably will stay on top in this category after the season will end in May.

24 at Belasica - Konche Birlik 24:0
16 at Ovche Pole - Konche Birlik 15:1
11 at Malesh - Konche Birlik 9:2
10 at Sasa - Konche Birlik 10:0
7 at Ovche Pole - Sloga 1934 6:1, Konche Birlik - Plachkovica 0:7, Plachkovica - Sloga 1934 6:1, Belasica - Kit-Go 6:1, Vasilevo - Belasica 0:7, Konche Birlik - Napredok 2:5

Now there is a long winter break as the second half-season will begin in March next year.

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