sábado, 26 de marzo de 2011

Albania 1 - 0 Belarus

Belarus' hopes of qualification for Euro 2012 were dealt a blow as they suffered a narrow defeat in Tirana.

Hamdi Salihi grabbed the only goal of the game for Albania just after the hour mark as they moved level on points with their opponents, although they remain below them on goal difference.

The visitors had entered this round of games as the nearest challengers to France at the top of Group D, but they have failed to back up their impressive opening win over Laurent Blanc's men and tonight's disappointment follows on from a miserable goalless draw with Luxembourg in their last away fixture which leaves them four points adrift of Les Bleus.

The win was just reward for the hosts who were the better side throughout after making a fluent opening.

Ervin Bulku had an early chance for them but his weak shot was easily saved by Sergey Veremko, before Erjon Bogdani also fired straight at the keeper when well placed.

Salihi's strong effort from distance we well held by Veremko, and it was not until a 38th-minute effort from Dzmitry Molosh that Belarus posed a threat to the home goal.

Former Sunderland midfielder Lorik Cana then came agonisingly close to giving Albania the lead but his thunderous strike bounced back off the crossbar.

The pattern of Albanian dominance continued after the break with Bulku again going close before their finally found the opener.

Altin Lala coolly teed up striker Salihi in the box and he made no mistake to slot home from close range.

Salihi should have had a second just a handful of minutes later but this time his effort, from a similar distance to his first, came back off a post and was cleared to safety.

Alyaksandr Bychanok's speculative effort was well saved by Samir Ujkani in the Albania goal but the hosts had little trouble seeing out the remaining minutes to claim the three points.

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