Date: June 18, 2016
Result: Albania Romania
Albania: Armando Sadiku
Venue: Stade de Lyon, Lyon
An historic win for Albania which could result in them reaching the knockout stages.
Romania made all the early running but it was Albania who should have gone ahead midway through the first half when Ermir Lenjani blazed over from five yards out. The only goal of what was a scrappy match, came on the stroke of half time when Armando Sadiku met a far post cross with a cushioned header which looped over the advancing Ciprian Tătăruşanu.
The closest Romania came to an equaliser was when substiture Florian Andone burst into the box and fired a powerful effort against the bar. But it was a pretty comfortable evening for Albania who now face a nervy three day wait to see if they can qualify for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.
Ledian Memushaj delivered a wonderful ross to the far post where Sadiku was on hand to score Albania’s first ever goal at a major tournament and more importantly, secure their first ever win.
Man of the match:
Arlind Ajeti was a rock at the heart of the Albanian defence, making a number of timely tackles and interceptions.
Matter of fact:
Albania have faced Romania on 16 occasions – more than any other nation. However, this was their first win against them since 1948.
If results go against them in the other groups, the three points here may ultimately prove academic. But, in terms of Albanian football, the significance of this first victory at a major tournament will be incalculable. The way their delirious supporters celebrated the award of a last minute corner gave an indication of what it means to them. Regardless of whether his side qualify for the knockout stages, Albania’s Italian-born coach Gianni de Biasi will return home with his reputation enhanced.
Attempts on target
01 Etrit Berisha (G)
02 Andi Lila
03 Ermir Lenjani (21 Odise Roshi 77′)
04 Elseid Hysaj
07 Ansi Agolli (C)
08 Migjen Basha (5 Lorik Cana 83′)
09 Ledian Memushaj
10 Armando Sadiku (19 Bekim Balaj 59′)
15 Mërgim Mavraj
18 Arlind Ajeti
22 Amir Abrashi
Starting formation: 4-3-2-1
Berisha – Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli – Abrashi, Basha, Memushaj – Lila, Lenjani – Sadiku
12 Ciprian Tătăruşanu (G)
02 Alexandru Măţel
05 Ovidiu Hoban
06 Vlad Chiricheş (C)
09 Denis Alibec (11 Gabriel Torje 57′)
10 Nicolae Stanciu
18 Andrei Prepeliţă (17 Lucian Sânmărtean 46′)
19 Bogdan Stancu
20 Adrian Popa (14 Florin Andone 67′)
21 Dragoș Grigore
22 Cristian Săpunaru
Starting formation: 4-2-3-1
Tătăruşanu – Săpunaru, Măţel, Chiricheş, Grigore – Prepeliţă, Hoban – Stancu, Popa, Stanciu – Săpunaru.
Albania: Basha 6, Memushaj 84, Hysaj 90+3
Romania: Măţel 54, Torje 90+2
Referee: Pavel Královec (Cze)