Switzerland did just enough to see off 10-man Albania in Lens but they lacked any finishing finesse against nervous tournament debutants.

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Date: June 11, 2016

Result: Albania 0 Switzerland 1

Scorers:

Albania: none

Switzerland: Schar 5

Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens

Match overview: 

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.

Key moment: 

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.

Talking point: 

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.

Stats:

Goal attempts

Albania 7

Switzerland 17

Attempts on target 

Albania 2

Switzerland 5

Corners

Albania 5

Switzerland 4

Line-ups:

Albania

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

Switzerland

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

Yellow cards:

Albania: Cana 24, 36, Kace 63, Kukeli 88, Mavraj 90

Switzerland: Schar 16

Red card:

Albania: Cana 36

Referee: Velasco Carballo (Spa)

Attendance: 33805