Football

10th September 2019 Albania v Iceland Euro 2020 Qualifier

Albania needed this victory to maintain hopes of Euro 2020 qualification from Group H.

In a battle of contrasting styles the home team prevailed much to the enjoyment of the local fans in Elbasan.

 


Played on a warm night to the occasional accompaniment of thunder and lightning Albania secured a fine win against a robust Icelandic side.

A pattern emerged of Albanian passing moves countered by set plays from Iceland.

The visitors tended to focus on long throws by their captain Gunnarsson and the odd effort by Everton's Sigurdsson.

While the home team pressed at pace utilising their wing backs.

But it was from a free kick that Albania took the lead as defender Dermaku rose high to head in the opener just after the half hour.

And the first period ended with the locals on top.

However a defensive error soon after the restart allowed Sigurdsson a chance to convert a cross for the leveller.

We then saw a much more vibrant second half.

On 52 minutes a fine move including a neat back heel gave Hysaj the opportunity to put Albania ahead.

But again the men in blue replied with substitute Sigthorsson, just on, scoring from close range for 2-2.

That failed to spoil the party as Roshi (via a deflected right foot shot) and Cikalleshi, who slammed in the fourth, showed that Albania would not be denied. 

They then ran down the clock to collect a well deserved three points against what was a moderate visiting side.  

 

Report & Analysis - John Bethell

 

 


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