Ro­ma­nia first to exit tour­na­ment as group min­nows seal fa­mous vic­tory

The Herald - Herald Sport - - EURO 2016 -

AR­MANDO Sadiku’s first-half header clinched Al­ba­nia their maiden win at a ma­jor tour­na­ment and first against Ro­ma­nia in 68 years, to keep alive their hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the Euro 2016 knock­out stages.

Sadiku headed home two min­utes be­fore half-time to seal a fa­mous Group A vic­tory for Gianni De Bi­asi’s min­nows that could see them progress as one of the best third-placed teams.

Ro­ma­nia, the first coun­try to bow out of the tour­na­ment and who last lost to Al­ba­nia in 1948, went in search of an equaliser, but de­spite hit­ting a post through sub­sti­tute Florin An­done in the 76th minute, they rarely tested Al­ba­nia goal­keeper Etrit Ber­isha.

Ro­ma­nia mid­fielder Ni­co­lae Stan­ciu fired the game’s first chance over the cross­bar in the third minute be­fore an­other long-range ef­fort from mid­fielder Ovidiu Hoban forced Al­ba­nia goal­keeper Ber­isha into a ner­vous, fum­bling save.

Al­ba­nia de­fender Andi Lila es­caped a book­ing for an ap­par­ent el­bow on Ro­ma­nia de­fender Alexan­dru Ma­tel. Ber­isha did well soon af­ter to block Bog­dan Stancu’s blis­ter­ing vol­ley.

Hoban was then on the re­ceiv­ing end of a reck­less high tackle from mid­fielder Mig­jen Basha as Al­ba­nia con­tin­ued to tread close to the line. Al­ba­nia had to wait un­til the 20th minute for their first ef­fort on tar­get. Mig­jen Basha’s tame low shot from 30 yards was eas­ily gath­ered by Ro­ma­nia goal­keeper Ciprian Tataru­sanu.

Al­ba­nia con­tin­ued to cre­ate chances and grow in con­fi­dence and it was no sur­prise when they took the lead in the 43rd minute.

Me­mushaj sent over a teas­ing cross from the right that was missed by goal­keeper Tataru­sanu and Sadiku pounced to head home from six yards.

Sadiku left the field to a stand­ing ova­tion in the sec­ond half in a tac­ti­cal switch with Bekim Balaj.

Me­mushaj went close to dou­bling Al­ba­nia’s lead with a thump­ing drive in the 63rd minute and Ro­ma­nia twice went close to an equaliser, in­clud­ing An­done’s wood­work shot. But Al­ba­nia re­fused to buckle.

GET IN: Sadiku heads the only goal

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