The victory will leave the Macedonians in good heart for their next qualifying test, a trip to Romania, who were 2-1 winners against Finland this evening, on 4 September. Armenia, meanwhile, will hope for better fortunes at home to the Finns four days later.
 S.S. Lazio forward Pandev struck first for the home side at the Gradski stadium - home of FK Pelister - opening the scoring with a fine shot from 16 metres. The forward might have doubled his side's lead midway through the first half when he found himself unmarked in front of Armenian goalkeeper Armen Ambartsumyan but defender Marotyan Vardanyan recovered well to clear.
 With the home side threatening on the counterattack, it was no surprise that such a source led to a second goal seven minutes before half-time. This time two Macedonian players were left with time and space in front of Ambartsumyan's goal and Sumulikoski unselfishly squad for Sakiri to roll in.
 It was nearly 3-0 in the final minutes of the half as Pandev met Aleksandar Mitrevski's cross with a powerful header but this time Ambartsumyan was equal to it. The Armenian goalkeeper then denied the same player ten minutes after the restart, and also kept out Sakiri's close-range header two minutes past the hour.
 The visitors almost found a way back into the match a minute later, but Andrey Movsesyan's fine close-range volley struck an upright and Armenian hopes were effectively ended with 21 minutes left as captain Marotyan Vardanyan was dismissed for a professional foul on Pandev.
 "I want to thank my players for a good game," said F.Y.R. Macedonia coach Dragan Kanatlarovski. "We deserved to win, although I knew that it would be a hard game, but we had several chances to score one or two goals more. It's important to earn a victory in the first match of qualification."
 His counterpart Bernard Casoni was more downbeat, saying: "It was the expected result for us, as we were missing several players. F.Y.R. Macedonia are a good team and they deserved to win. They scored early and after the second we knew that we would lose."