Albania qualified for the European Championship finals for the second time after drawing 1-1 with Moldova in Zimbru today in the penultimate round of qualifying Group E. The Balkan side needed just a point and earned it after Sokol Cikalesi opened from the penalty spot before the break, and in the second half the visitors kept the pressure of the Moldovans at bay until the 87th minute, when Vladislav Baboglo equalized. However, this result was quite enough for the Albanians.
Moldova started well and the hosts created the first dangerous situation, but Nicolaescu’s shot into the near corner was cleared by Berisha. After that, the guests played more confidently and in the 25th minute they won a penalty after Revenko kicked the leg of Seferi, who changed direction well and managed to “collect” the ball shortly before the contact. Sokol Čikaleshi executed the free kick uncompromisingly and put the Albanians ahead. By the break, the visitors were confident and generally in control.
The hosts pressed early in the second half, but several shots were blocked, and Berisha intervened well when needed.
However, the pressure did not pay off, and in one of their rare attacks in the second half, Albania could have doubled the lead. In the 74th minute, Seferi broke in from the left and shot, the home guard knocked, after which the ball hit the crossbar.
In the 87th minute, the home team missed a great chance after Postolachi headed down, but from a few meters the Damascene was unable to overcome Berisha. After the ensuing corner, the ball found its way to Vladislav Baboglo, who fired into the far corner to level the scores. By the end, the hosts tried to pull off a complete turnaround but failed, meaning Albania are in the finals in Germany, while Moldova will rely on the Czech Republic not beating Poland later today to keep their chances of qualifying.
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