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Bernaus brings Andorra victory

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

By Lucy Turner at the Comunal de Aixovall

[1] Marc Bernaus's goal an hour into Andorra's home FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 1 fixture with F.Y.R. Macedonia gave his nation victory in their 31st major competitive international - with the previous 30 all having ended in defeat.

Bernaus winner

[2] Andorra had been defeated in all their 12 matches since first entering the World Cup in time for for the 2002 edition, and have also lost their 18 UEFA European Championship fixtures. Defeats against Finland and Romania had been Andorra's previous results this time around, but on 60 minutes Bernaus of Spanish second division side Elche FC took control of a long throw on the edge of the area and his shot deflected past visiting goalkeeper Jane Nikoloski for what proved the winner.

Close first half

[3] Prior to half-time, the match had been a close affair. The visitors went close on eight minutes when Goran Pandev found Aco Stojkov and home goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez was forced to save. Two more away efforts were stopped in similar fashion before the break, but after the interval both teams came out strongly. Nikoloski did well to stop a strong shot from Antonio Lima in the 52nd minute, and from the resulting corner the same player went close with a header. And it took only eight more minutes for Benaus to strike Andorra's first goal from open play in two years.

Visitors denied

[4] Stojkov forced Koldo to save on 69 minutes as F.Y.R. Macedonia pushed hard for an equaliser, but Andorra sensed history in the making and held on stoutly to secure the three points that take them ahead of Armenia into sixth place in the group.

November fixtures

[5] The Comunal de Aixovall stages its next World Cup game on 17 November, when the Netherlands - who F.Y.R. Macedonia held to a draw on Saturday - are the visitors. The Macedonians, who now have four points from four games, welcome the Czech Republic the same night.

Marc Bernaus was Andorra's goalscorer