Dejan Iliev kept a clean sheet for Jagiellonia Bialystok in his first game back following the pandemic suspension of football in Poland.

Dejan Iliev playing for Jagiellonia (Photo by Michal Stanczyk via Iliev's Instagram)
Dejan Iliev playing for Jagiellonia (Photo by Michal Stanczyk via Iliev’s Instagram)

The Polish league returned this weekend, with Dejan Iliev starting and keeping a clean sheet as Jagiellonia Bialystok won away to KS Cracovia.

The game started slowly for the Arsenal loanee, as he didn’t have any saves to make in the first 20 minutes. He made a vital sweeping clearance in the 21st, after a long ball over the top.

The rest of the half wasn’t so impressive for Iliev. First, he spilt a catch to an attacker who was fortunately offside. Then, a weak punch fell to a forward who would’ve headed home if not for a covering defender on the line.

He did make another straightforward save and clearance before the break, but it was a shaky start.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Iliev had another couple of clearances to make. He also conceded twice to offside goals, the correct decisions confirmed by VAR in both cases.

The final half-hour was much better. Iliev made the save of the match in the 70th minute, diving at full stretch to turn away a dangerous volley. You can watch the save at 1:05 in the linked video.

The goalkeeper then came off his line to make another crucial smothering save one-on-one in the 83rd minute. He followed that up with two strong punches in the 86th, both much more confident than his effort in the first half.

So it wasn’t an entirely authoritative performance, and the offside flag and that covering defender on the line definitely had their part to play in Iliev’s clean sheet. Still, there were some encouraging moments and at least he’s back playing again.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.