Switzerland did just enough to see off 10-man Albania in Lens but they lacked any finishing finesse against nervous tournament debutants.
Date: June 11, 2016
Result: Albania 0 Switzerland 1
Switzerland: Schar 5
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
Switzerland did just enough to see off 10-man Albania in Lens but they lacked any finishing finesse against nervous tournament debutants. The Swiss failed to add to an early lead taken when Fabian Schar rose above keeper Etrit Berisha to head home from a corner. Although they could not take their chances, allowing Albania back into the game, Lorik Cana’s red card looked to be a killer blow. But a spirited second-half performance saw Albania hold their own, backed by a majority of the crowd at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Substitute Shkelzen Gashi had a perfect chance for a late equaliser, but was foiled by a brilliant save from Swiss keeper Yann Sommer.
Lorik Cana, Albania’s captain and talisman, was sent off for a second yellow following a silly handball to prevent Haris Seferovic getting through on goal, though appeared to be impeded by the Swiss centre-forward. The red card ruled Cana out of the second game, against France in Marseille, where he played for four seasons.
Man of the match:
Granit Xhaka won the battle of the Xhaka brothers, though he was lucky to escape punishment for a wreckless early foul. His brother Taulant slammed a water bottle against the Albania bench in frustration after he was substituted.
Matter of fact:
Swiss striker Haris Seferivic had four shots on targets – but all were saved by Albania keeper Etrit Berisha.
A game of two keepers. Albania keeper Etrit Berisha was at fault for the game’s only goal, failing to get close to Fabian Schar as he headed home. But he did brilliantly to deny Haris Seferovic in a number of one-on-ones. Swiss number one Yann Sommer, meanwhile, pulled off fine saves to deny Armando Sadiku, who had been played in by Elseid Hysaj, and late in the game against substitute Shkelzen Gashi.
Attempts on target
01 Etrit Berate
03 Ermir Lenjani
04 Elseid Hysaj
05 Lorik Cana
07 Ansi Agolli
10 Armando Sadiku (11 Shkelzen Gashi 82)
13 Burim Kukeli
14 Taulent Xhaka (20 Ergys Kace 62)
15 Mergim Mavraj
21 Odise Roshi (16 Sokol Cikalleshi 74)
22 Amir Abrashi
Starting formation: 4-3-2-1
Berisha – Hysaj, Cana, Mavraj, Agolli – Abrashi, Kukeli, Xhaka – Roshi, Lenjani – Sadiku
01 Yann Sommer
02 Stephan Lichtsteiner
09 Hans Seferovic
10 Granit Xhaka
11 Valon Behrami
13 Ricardo Rodriguez
15 Blerim Dzemali (08 Fabien Frei 76)
18 Admir Mehmedi (07 Breel Embolo 62)
20 Johan Djorou
22 Fabian Schar
23 Xherdan Shaqiri (16 Gelson Fernandes)
Starting formation: 4-2-3-1
Sommer – Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djorou, Rodriguez – Xhaka, Behrami – Shaqiri, Dzemali, Mehmedi – Seferovic
Albania: Cana 24, 36, Kace 63, Kukeli 88, Mavraj 90
Switzerland: Schar 16
Albania: Cana 36
Referee: Velasco Carballo (Spa)