Shkupi will aim to prolong their first season in the Champions League when they meet Dinamo Zagreb in the second round of qualifying.
After the first leg finished 2-2, the Croatian champions are tasked with clinching victory in North Macedonia to progress in the competition.
While their domestic season is yet to begin, Shkupi have had plenty of Champions League action to keep themselves occupied.
In their first-ever game in the competition, the North Macedonian champions thrashed Lincoln Red Imps 3-0, and despite losing 2-0 in the away leg, Shkupi progressed to the second round of qualifying to face Dinamo Zagreb.
Despite facing tough opposition, Queven got the visitors off to a dream start in Croatia last week, but Arijan Ademi ensured that the sides went into half time on level terms.
Bruno Petkovic looked to have completed the turnaround for the hosts, but as Shkupi began to contemplate a one-goal deficit after the first leg, Renaldo Cephas grabbed a dramatic equaliser in the 89th minute to clinch a precious draw.
Goce Sedloski‘s side will now aim to use home advantage in their favour as they search for a win that would set up a third-round qualifying tie against Ludogorets Razgrad or Shamrock Rovers.
In contrast to their hosts, Dinamo Zagreb are already involved in domestic action after winning the Croatian Super Cup and beginning their league campaign with consecutive victories.
The Super Cup was clinched on penalties following a goalless draw against Lokomotiv Zagreb, but in their last three outings in all competitions, Dinamo Zagreb have been involved in entertaining encounters.
Although clean sheets are proving hard to come by, they have certainly made up for their defensive deficiencies in attacking areas after scoring 10 goals across their previous three matches, including a 5-1 league win against Slaven Belupo at the weekend.
While their form in front of goal will inspire optimism, Dinamo Zagreb can also draw inspiration from the three victories that they recorded in their four away Champions League games last season.
A defeat would see Ante Cacic‘s side drop down to Europa League qualifying, but Dinamo Zagreb will be determined to clinch a win that would leave them two rounds away from their first Champions League group stage appearance since the 2019-20 season.
Cephas is set to be rewarded for his late equaliser in the first leg, with the Jamaican expected to return to the starting lineup for Tuesday’s contest.
While Cephas is likely to replace Walid Hamidi, the rest of the side could be unchanged following the impressive display in Croatia a week ago.
The centre-back pairing of Gagi Margvelashvili and Xhelil Abdulla will have their work cut out to resist a high-scoring Dinamo Zagreb side.
As for the visitors, they have issues in defence after Josip Sutalo was forced off in the first leg due to a muscle injury which will keep him out for at least a month, while Kevin Theophile-Catherine is also a doubt for the trip to North Macedonia.
As a result of their injury issues, Dinamo Zagreb could opt to use Rasmus Lauritsen and Dino Peric in central defence.
Josip Drmic has begun the league campaign with three goals in two matches, and the striker will be looking to transfer his domestic form into European action for the second leg.
Shkupi possible starting lineup:
Naumovski; Brdarovski, Margvelashvili, Abdulla, Sheji; Queven, Senghor, Alvarez; Danfa, Cephas, Adetunji
Dinamo Zagreb possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Ristovski, Lauritsen, Peric, Bockaj; Ivanusec, Misic; Menalo, Baturina, Orsic, Drmic
Although they failed to close out the victory in the first leg, we still expect Dinamo Zagreb to have enough quality to squeeze past Shkupi on Tuesday.
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