Albania 0 v 1 Switzerland – Euro 2016 Group A

ALB 0:1 SUI – the second game of UEFA EURO 2016 proved to be a highly entertaining and eventful encounter at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens. After being so solid in qualifying, the Albania defence self-destructed in the first half hour. Just 5 minutes in, S.S. Lazio keeper Etrit Berisha inexplicably rushed out to claim a corner and ended up in no man’s land allowing TSG 1899 Hoffenheim defender Fabian Schär to nod the Swiss in front. Inspirational Albanian captain Lorik Cana was then dismissed for a second yellow card after slipping and intentionally stopping the ball from reaching Swiss striker Haris Seferović with his arms. Despite Vladimir Petković‘s Swiss side coming out of the blocks with pace and purpose in the opening exchanges, it was the Albanians who looked more likely to score for large spells of the game. Arsenal-bound Granit Xhaka had much of the ball without impacting the game at all, and the stocky Xherdan Shaqiri was not the nuisance in the final third that we are used to seeing from him. Gianni De Biasi will wonder what could have been after his side spurned a number of fantastic opportunities to not only draw the game but take all three points. Two majestic through-balls from Elseid Hysaj gave FC Vaduz frontman Armando Sadiku the chance to get his country back into the game, however twice Swiss stopper Yann Sommer thwarted the striker. There were also two clear penalty shouts that should have been given to Albania. With only 10 men the Albanians worked their socks off and should have earned a point in the last minute but again the superb Sommer saved brilliantly from Shkelzen Gashi. Berisha, at fault for the goal, pulled off a string of superlative saves also and both keepers kept the score down, neither deserving to leave the field a loser. Albania will fancy upstaging the French after this performance, and the Swiss need only beat Romania to qualify for the next stage.

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