The critical eye of social media platforms are quick to spot anything that can be considered out of the norm and the recent UEFA Nations League battle between Macedonia and Armenia certainly raised an alarm.
In the Group 4 match in League D, Macedonia were atop the table with three wins in as many matches while Armenia had three points along with Gibraltar and Liechtenstein.
The two teams met earlier in the week, with Macedonia comfortably winning 2-0 over Armenia behind Egzijan Alilovski and Goran Pandev goals.
Being so dominating in the early stages, and their cluster mates having difficulty securing points, many saw Macedonia cruising towards the next round.
Little trouble was thought of in their second meeting.
However, it appeared like it was going to be anything but what was expected, with Armenia getting an early goal in the 12th minute. Marcos Pizzelli scored from a Henrikh Mkhitaryan assist to give the Armenian outfit the early lead.
What surprised many was how the goal should have been dealt with by keeper Stole Dimitrievski. The ball was shot from the keeper’s right side and swerved towards him. He was able to make contact with the ball, but only enough to redirect it towards the net to give the underdogs the lead.
Chocking the first goal to bad luck, Macedonia’s apparent lack of interest was on full display again in the 67th minute where Dimitrievski carelessly gave away the ball for Armenia to pounce. The wayward pass seemed to conveniently miss the intended target resulting in Yura Movsisyan getting a crack at goal.
At this point, more than a few questions were being raised.
The third goal showed glimpses on what happened on the first, with Gevorg Ghazaryan scoring from a free kick that went low to beat the Macedonian wall and right in the waiting hands of Dimitrievski – or so we thought. Attempting to parry it to the left, he, instead, guided it to the corner of his goal to give Armenia a 3-0 lead.
Already with the win in the bag, there was one more left in the bag for this interesting clash. In the 4th minute of added time, Mkhitaryan lined up another free kick from just outside the penalty box that just beat the Macedonia keeper, again.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS UNSURE
With the laughable performance of Macedonia, many were quick to link it to possible match-fixing. Some tweeting that Dimitrievski was aware of the odds.
— Brian McDonnell (@BrianMc_Donnell) October 16, 2018
On Reddit, many people had their own theories on what happened:
Some are conceding the fact that Macedonia may have done something on purpose.
Others were wondering if Armenia were part of the ploy.
Lastly, there are some who try to get as critical as possible in order to justify what they just saw as blatant match-fixing.
However, it is very likely that nothing would come out of this discussion as long as no one files an official complaint or the governing body doesn’t find anything suspicious themselves.
All this displays is that everyone is watching and social media’s influence on how people perceive a match cannot be understated.
Cover photo courtesy of ArsenalFC_fl