Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Sadiku strikes to edge Albania one step closer knockout stage

Romania 0 - Albania 1

Albania kept hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the European Championship alive with a 1-0 victory over Romania on Sunday, a result that sent their opponents home.

The result took Albania above Romania in the group rankings into third place, behind France and Switzerland.

The team will have to wait until the group stages of Euro 2016 has been completed on Wednesday before finding out whether they will be one of the four third-placed teams to make it through to the round of 16.

Armando Sadiku scored the sole goal after 43 minutes - the first goal Albania have scored in an international tournament.

Ledian Memushaj picked out Sadiku drifting at the far post with a well-placed cross that the striker coolly nodded back over goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, who had left his line.

After going without a goal in two hard-fought losses to Switzerland and France, Albania stuck to a defensive approach against Romania.

The beaten side failed to produce many chances, their best effort coming in the 76th minute when substitute Florin Andone hit the crossbar with a ferocious strike.

Otherwise, Albania buckled down at the back while Sadiku continued to trouble Romania's defence.

Albania's players celebrated the historic victory with Italian coach Giovanni De Biasi after the final whistle, while the team's large contingent of fans cheered wildly at the Stade de Lyon.

Romania was eliminated after only earning one point - a draw against the Swiss - in its three group matches.

Belfast Telegraph