BUCHAREST (Reuters) – North Macedonia only showed what they are capable of in the second half of their 2-1 Euro 2020 Group C defeat by Ukraine on Thursday but can take a lot of positives from the performance, coach Igor Angelovski said.
The result left the Macedonians with only a small chance of reaching the last 16, following their opening 3-1 defeat by Austria, but Angelovski was upbeat about their final group match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday.
North Macedonia fell two goals behind in the first half against Ukraine before Ezgjan Alioski pulled one back after the break to set up a tense finish in Bucharest.
“We were poor in the first half although our captain Goran Pandev was unlucky to be marginally offside and have a goal scrapped,” Angelovski told a news conference.
“In the second half though we were the real Macedonia and showed that we deserved to reach the European Championship.
“This is how we should play against the Dutch. We want to put on a good show and hopefully pick up our first points of the tournament.”
Pandev was unhappy with the team’s lapses in concentration which allowed forwards Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk to fire Ukraine into a 2-0 lead in the space of five minutes.
“It’s as if we have to concede before we start playing,” said the 37-year-old striker. “One good half is not enough, we need to be on the same level throughout the match and play constantly like we did after the break.
“We have nothing to lose against the Netherlands and hence we need to head into that game relaxed in order to show what we are capable of.”
The Netherlands, who beat Ukraine 3-2 in their opening game, play Austria in Amsterdam later on Thursday. Ukraine and Austria clash in Bucharest in their final group game on Monday.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)