Brought to you by

Key Events

90' + 6'
M. Petrovikj
Yellow Card
90' + 1'
A. Candreva
Assist
90' + 1'
C. Immobile
Goal
84'
D. Trajchevski
F. Hasani
84'
E. Martins
A. Belotti
75'
A. Candreva
Assist
75'
C. Immobile
Goal
70'
M. Parolo
Yellow Card
68'
M. Petrovikj
I. Nestorovski
66'
B. Ibraimi
Yellow Card
65'
M. Parolo
G. Bonaventura
65'
N. Sansone
F. Bernardeschi
59'
F. Hasani
Goal
57'
I. Nestorovski
Goal
53'
S. Spirovski
Yellow Card
46'
B. Ibraimi
L. Zhuta
41'
E. Alioski
Yellow Card
24'
F. Bernardeschi
Assist
24'
A. Belotti
Goal
3
4
3
1

Stats

Possession
% %
4
5
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 6 9
Total Passes 298 568

Commentary

Well, that’s all from me for now! It has been a pleasure, and until next time, thank you and goodbye!
Ventura’s men were behind going into the 75th minute, but came on strong with a late rally, Immobile’s brace cancelling out Macedonia’s quick-fire strikes from earlier in the second-half.
FULL-TIME! What a game at the Filip II Arena, where it has finished Macedonia 3-2 Italy, with Ciro Immobile’s late double ensuring that Giampiero Ventura’s side did not drop points, and keep the pace with Group G favourites Spain in the process!
M. Petrovikj
Yellow Card
FYR Macedonia
90' + 6' A late booking now for Milovan Petrovikj, who cynically brought down Eder.
90' + 4' It’s Macedonia’s time to press now. Surely, Italy won’t let this result slip once again...
A. Candreva
Assist
Italy
90' + 1' Candreva has been one of the stars of the show for Italy this evening, and he showed all of his quality there with a delightful cross.
C. Immobile
Goal
Italy
90' + 1' GOOOOAAALLLLLL!!!!! IMMOBILE SALVAGES THE WIN FOR ITALY! What a game, and what a goal that is from the Italy forward, who has rescued his side in stoppage time. It’s the forward’s second of the night, and again it is Candreva who has provided it - this time floating a cross to the back post, with Immobile duly heading home.
90' + 1' Five minutes added on at the end of the second-half...
90' NO GOAL! Macedonia get lucky now, as Verratti’s sumptuous cross finds the run of Parolo. Bogatinov rushes out to try and claim it, but he is in no man’s land, allowing the Lazio midfielder to head in, only for the effort to be then ruled-out for offside. That was tight!
88' Italy are piling on the pressure now, but time is running out for them to grab a winner.
85' CHANCE! Candreva’s corner is excellent, and Parolo meets it with a towering header, but the effort is directed straight into the grateful grasp of Bogatinov.
D. Trajchevski
F. Hasani
FYR Macedonia
84' The hosts have also made their final substitution - bringing on Gjorgjev in place of Macedonia’s second goal-scorer Hasani.
E. Martins
A. Belotti
Italy
84' A third and final change now for Italy, as Eder replaces Belotti, who opened the scoring midway through the first half.
83' SAVE! That’s a great stop by Bogatinov, who somehow manages to get a finger-tip to Candreva’s point-blank attempt.
82' NO PENALTY! Another appeal for a spot-kick, and once again it is Immobile who is claiming that he was fouled. He had driven into the box at pace before skipping past his marker, going down when the challenge came in. The referee again waved it way, but he has not booked Immobile for simulation either.
80' Ventura’s substitutions have worked brilliantly so far, and Italy are well on top now, with both Sansone and Parolo having dded a different dimension to the visitors’ play. As I type, Sansone cuts inside and goes for goal, but his shot is blocked by Mojsov.
78' Huge appeals for a penalty now from Immobile, who is convinced that his close-range strike hit the arm of Ristevski, but the official is having none of it.
A. Candreva
Assist
Italy
75' The cross from Candreva was ideal for Immobile to tap home, but the credit must go to Verratti, who was again the instigator with that sublime pass over Macedonia’s back-line.
C. Immobile
Goal
Italy
75' GOOOOOAAALLLLL!!!! IMMOBILE HAULS ITALY LEVEL! Brilliant from the visitors! It was an excellent move down the right, Verratti clipping a delightful throughball into the path of Candreva, who in turn drilled a cross towards Immobile - the former Torino man skewing the ball into the far corner.
72' SAVE! That could so easily have been a third for the hosts, as Mojsov latches onto the resulting free-kick, but Buffon reacts brilliantly to parry the effort wide. Moments later, he is called into action once again, this time to deny Alioski.
M. Parolo
Yellow Card
Italy
70' A booking for Parolo now, after the Italy substitute had felled Pandev 25 yards out…
M. Petrovikj
I. Nestorovski
FYR Macedonia
68' A second substitution now for Macedonia, as Ilija Nestorovski - having netted the hosts’ first - hobbles off with an apparent knee injury. His replacement is Milovan Petrovikj.
67' Candreva takes the resulting free-kick, but he cannot direct his strike anywhere near the target.
B. Ibraimi
Yellow Card
FYR Macedonia
66' End-to-end play now, as Pandev sets himself up for a volley with a sublime piece of footwork, only to see his strike blocked. Italy work their way up to the other end, with Ibraimi going into the book for scything down Sansone.
M. Parolo
G. Bonaventura
Italy
65' The second change sees Marco Parolo come on in place of Giacomo Bonaventura.
N. Sansone
F. Bernardeschi
Italy
65' A double change now for Italy, as Ventura looks to salvage this game. The first of the substitutions sees Federico Bernardeschi make way for Nicola Sansone, who has been in great form for Villarreal in LaLiga.
64' CHANCE! Despite his error for Macedonia’s first goal, Verratti has been in fine form this evening, and once more he is the architect as his looped pass picks out Immobile, but the forward slices his volley away from the target.
63' To make matters worse for the Italians, Spain have now taken the lead against Albania! As I type, Ibraimi tries his luck with a dipping strike from range, and Buffon can only parry it out into the danger area. Fortunately for the veteran shot-stopper, Bonucci is on hand to clear the danger. 
61' What a turn-around this has been. Italy have just fallen apart at the back in the past few minutes, and Ventura now needs a swift response!
F. Hasani
Goal
FYR Macedonia
59' GOOOOOOAAALLLLLL!!! MACEDONIA TAKE THE LEAD! Incredible scenes, as Hasani slams in the hosts’ second goal in a letter of minutes. It was another sloppy error from Italy - Bernardeschi conceding possession - and Macedonia counter at pace. Pandev is the instigator this time, as his pass towards Nesterovski is deflected into the path of Hasani, who duly slammed in a low strike from the edge of the area.
I. Nestorovski
Goal
FYR Macedonia
57' GOOOOOAALLLL! NESTEROVSKI LEVELS IT! Well, what a lacklustre piece of play from Italy, and it has allowed Macedonia to haul themselves back to parity! First, Verratti concedes possession with a sloppy pass straight into the feet of Nesterovski, who is then allowed to drive towards the edge of the area under no pressure, and the in-form Palermo striker makes no mistake in sliding a neat finish past Buffon.
56' Brilliant from Verratti, who picks out the run of Candreva with a delightful throughball. The former Lazio man powers down the wing before drilling in a low cross to the front post, but Belotti cannot direct his effort in target.
55' Eventually, Candreva does get his cross in, but it comes to nothing. Macedonia race upfield, and Romagnoli does well to clear Italy’s lines from inside the six-yard box.
S. Spirovski
Yellow Card
FYR Macedonia
53' A bizarre bit of officiating it seems here. Spirovsk has picked up a booking for a foul on Romagnoli in the area, but no penalty was awarded - though that may have been because the corner had not yet been taken…
51' A pause in play now, as Hasani takes a venomous strike right into the midriff, evidently winded as a result. Italy, meanwhile, wait to take the resulting corner...
49' Strong goalkeeping once again from Bogatinov, who denies Immobile what would have been a simple tap-in after the Lazio striker had done well to weave his way into the penalty area.
B. Ibraimi
L. Zhuta
FYR Macedonia
46' Welcome back for the second half! There has been one change at the interval - Leonard Zhuta making way for the hosts, with Besart Ibraimi coming on.
At times, Italy have struggled to cope with Macedonia’s direct play, and the hosts were unfortunate not to have gone ahead themselves when Nestorovski struck the woodwork. Unless the visitors can snatch a second early on in the second-half, then Macedonia are still very much in this encounter.
HALF-TIME! It hasn’t been a vintage display from Italy, but nevertheless they have the lead against Macedonia - Belotti volleying in from a set-piece to put Ventura’s side ahead.
44' MISS! That should have been 2-0 to Italy! Candreva is the instigator as he lofts in a delightful cross from the right. Bonaventura is all-set to head it home, but Botatinov somehow gets his finger-tips to it, and the Milan playmaker - still without an international goal - is unable to adjust quickly enough.
42' CHANCE! Italy cause their own problems once more as they give away the ball cheaply - Alioski taking advantage by floating in an inviting cross. Nestorovski is on hand to meet it, but cannot generate enough power on his header to beat Buffon.
E. Alioski
Yellow Card
FYR Macedonia
41' A yellow card now for Alioski, who dived in recklessly on Candreva.
40' Clever from Immobile, who looks to thread a pass into the path of Belotti, but the latter had just hesitated in making his run, and Bogatinov is out quickly to smother the danger.
38' Well-wide from Alioski who - after picking possession up in a dangerous area 30 yards out from goal - hammers a strike well-off target.
36' A lucky escape for Italy, as Pendev’s heavy first touch allows De Sciglio to get back and make a timely challenge in the area. Had the Genoa forward brought the ball under his spell, he would have been one-on-one with Buffon.
33' Elsewhere in Group G, it is currently 0-0 between Albania and Spain. As it stands, Italy would move top.
31' A mistake from Bogatinov provides Italy with another oppotunity to get the ball in, but on this occaison, Bernardeschi's delivery is a poor one and Macedonia escape unscathed.
29' POOR! Italy’s free-kick is easily cleared, and Pandev leads a quick-fire counter charge from Macedonia. Ristovski is in support, but by the time Pandev had released the pass, the wing-back had strayed offside.
27' Another opportunity now for Italy, as Bonaventura plays a short-corner into Bernardeschi, who proceeds to win a free-kick right on the cusp of Macedonia’s area.
F. Bernardeschi
Assist
Italy
24' Bernardeschi has struggled to get into the game so far, but the Fiorentina playmaker showed his quality there with an exquisite delivery - Belotti making no mistake as he hit home his maiden international goal.
A. Belotti
Goal
Italy
24' GOOOOOOALLLLL!! BELOTTI PUTS ITALY AHEAD! Well, just as Macedonia were building up a head of steam, the visitors take the lead. It was an excellent corner from Bernardeschi, who drilled in a wonderful out-swinging cross that Belotti simply allowed to fly off his right-foot and up into the roof of the net.
22' Good save! Finally, Italy catch Macedonia’s defence cold with a quick counter-attack - Candreva bursting down the right before curling in a fantastic cross. Immobile is on the end of it, but he can only drill a low strike straight at Bogatinov.
20' Italy have responded well to Macedonia’s chance, but they are yet to find a way to carve open the hosts’ defence, which is remaining steadfast.
18' SO CLOSE! What a let-off this is for Italy, as Nestorovski’s dipping effort leaves Buffon stranded but, unfortunately for the current Palermo striker, the ball clatters off the underside of the crossbar.
15' Chance! Poor play from Romagnoli, who concedes possession high upfield. The youngster’s error is capitalised on by Alioski, who proceeds to drive forward down the left, but instead of looking to pick out Nestorovski or Pandev, the midfielder can only drill a cross-cum-shot into the side-netting.
13' Italy have started the strongest of the two sides, but Macedonia are ensuring that the visitors aren’t having it all their own way, with Pandev looking particularly sharp up top.
11' Good goalkeeping from Bogatinov, who comes out to claim a floated cross from Verratti, with Immobile and Belotti both lurking in the area.
9' Disallowed! That’s unfortunate for Candreva, who put the ball in the back of the net with a tidy finish at the back post, but the Inter winger had just strayed offside before latching onto Immobile’s initial header.
7' Key for the visitors this evening will be Verratti, who is being deployed in the deep-lying playmaker role. The OSG man looks to pick-out Immobile, but the former Borussia Dortmund striker is flagged offside.
5' Both sides are employing similar systems, and that is allowing for some end-to-end play early on. Italy, with the in-form Immobile and Belotti up top, are looking dangerous, but the guile and experience of Pandev means that Macedonia represent a real threat on the counter...
4' Despite Ventura being new into his role as national team head coach, there is plenty of pressure on Itlay given the presence of Spain in this qualifying group, to get a victory this evening to ensure that they maintain pace with their most-recent opponents, who face Albania this evening.
2' Goran Pendev, who skippers Macedonia this evening, is the hosts’ most notable player - and their leading ever goalscorer. The 33-year-old currently plying his trade at Serie A club Genoa following spells at fellow Italian sides Inter, Lazio and Napoli. And the veteran has already forced Buffon into action with a close-range effort.
1' KICK-OFF! Macedonia get proceedings up and running in what is the first-ever meeting between these two sides.
The team’s are out now in Skopje, and the national anthems are underway...
There’s some real pressure on Italy to claim a victory this evening, and Ventura has made wholesale changes to the line-up that started against Spain. The defence remains unchanged, but ahead of them, there are a total of six alterations. Perhaps the most notable, is the absence of Graziano Pelle, who was released from the squad after he refused to shake his manager’s hand when he was substituted off against Spain on Thursday. The former Southampton forward is replaced by Andrea Belotti.
TEAM NEWS - Italy substitutes: Darmian, Ogbonna, Florenzi, Sansone, Donnarumma, Astori, Perin, De Rossi, Eder, Parolo, Benassi, Criscito.
TEAM NEWS - Italy (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Candreva, Bernardeschi, Verratti, Bonaventura, De Sciglio; Immobile, Belotti.
Just the one change then from Macedonia head coach Igor Angelovski, with Stefan Spirovski taking the place of Milovan Petrovic at the heart of the hosts’ three-man midfield. 
TEAM NEWS - Macedonia substitutes: Trickovski, Zahov, Ibraimi, Trajcevski, Gjorjev, Stjepanovic, Jahovic, Petrovic, Siskovski.
TEAM NEWS - Macedonia (5-3-2): Bogatinov; Ristovski, Mojsov, Sikov, Ristevski, Zhuta; Hasani, Spirovski, Alioski; Pandev, Nestorovski.
The team news is in now from the Filip II Arena in Skopje. Let’s assess the full squads...
Macedonia, on the other hand, have not claimed a competitive victory since October 2014, and have lost their opening two Group G fixtures - to Albania and Israel respectively. 
Daniele De Rossi’s late penalty ensured that Italy claimed a vital point against Spain in their most-recent Group G outing, with Gianluigi Buffon having initially gifted Lopetegui’s side the lead in Turin, meaning that Giampiero Ventura avoided defeat in his first game in charge of the national team on home soil.
Hello, football fans! Welcome to our LIVE coverage of this World Cup qualifier between Macedonia and four-time world champions Italy.
Comments ()