Albania defiantly lose in Amsterdam

The Netherlands stayed two points clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group G with a difficult victory over Albania in Amsterdam. Tense finish Robin van Persie’s early strike and an own goal by defender Nevil Dede gave the Dutch

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No surprises in the Albanian Cup

TIRANA, Sep 27 – There were no surprises in the second round of the Albanian Cup played on Wednesday. All the Superleague teams managed to go through to the next round most of them winning at home against an “easy”

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Shkumbini make a bright start to the new Football season

With the Albanian league newly expanded from ten teams to 12, KS Shkumbini are leading the early running with two wins and one draw in three games. New format Under the new format, the 12 sides will play each other

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World Great Master Erald Dervishi wins Bratto chess festival

DURRES, Aug. 28 – Albanian World Great Master Erald Dervishi, 25, was declared the winner of the 26th international chess festival held in Bratto, Italy from Aug. 19-27. Ten other world masters took part in the event where there were

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Baric names new team for San Marino friendly

TIRANA, Aug. 8 – Croatian national soccer team coach Otto Baric named Tuesday the 22 national soccer team that will play against San Marino Aug. 16. Goalkeepers: Ilion Lika (Dinamo), Isli Hidi (Tirana); Defenders: Tefik Osmani (Besa), Armend Dallku (Vorskla

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                    [post_content] => The Netherlands stayed two points clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group G with a difficult victory over Albania in Amsterdam. 

Tense finish
Robin van Persie's early strike and an own goal by defender Nevil Dede gave the Dutch a comfortable lead, but Debatik Curri reduced the deficit in the second half to ensure a tense finish for the home side as Albania dangerously attacked. While the Dutch now have ten points from their opening four games, Albania sit second-bottom of the section with just one from three matches. 

Bright start 
In the absence of the injured Dirk Kuyt, Netherlands coach Marco van Basten opted for the attacking trio of Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Ryan Babel and his team started brightly. After 12 minutes Van Persie went close to opening the scoring when his long-range drive forced a save from Beqaj and three minutes later, he did break the deadlock, meeting Joris Mathijsen's header and firing home from the centre of the penalty area. 

Opportunities for Landzaat
Midfielder Denny Landzaat wasted the chance to extend the hosts' lead when he shot wide from in the 23rd minute. Soon after he let another opportunity slip by when he blasted over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. Albania then carved out their first chance of the game with Erion Bogdani testing Edwin van der Sar with a long-range drive. 

Own goal
The Netherlands doubled their advantage just before half-time with Dede left embarrassed as he put through his own net. Immediately after the interval, Armend Dallku's long-range drive almost reduced the deficit when the ball hit the post from 25 meters, before Robben's corner was headed over by Van Persie in the 54th minute. 

Lifeline
Robben's ten-metre effort was then punched clear by Beqaj on the hour, before Albania were handed a lifeline in the 67th minute when Muka's pass was lashed home by Curri from 18 yards. Bogdani sent a shot wide from distance in the 70th minute, while Albania were denied two clear penalties as the Dutch defenders handled the ball in the penalty area. 
This was the best performance that Albania has given under coach Otto Baric. Dutch coach Marco van Basten admitted after the game that his side were lucky to maintain the result as he saw his team disperse in the field against a fearless Albanian side that kept them under pressure after pulling back a goal on the 67'th minute. Otto Baric declared that it was pointless to make a statement as this would lead to him being fined 10.000 Euros for accusing the referee for inability. Nevertheless this kind of performance makes Albania a side to be feared Group G.

Match Performance

Arian Beqaj
A very good game for the Albanian goalkeeper, who was decisive throughout 90 minutes with his saves. Beqaj showed his quality as he handled many attacks from Dutch players Van Persie and Robben. He was not to blame for conceding the two goals.

Besnik Hasi
Showed maturity and tried to do his best but, like everyone else, found difficulty dealing with the Dutch attacks in the first half. With the minutes passing by Hasi learned how to deal with his opponents.

Nevil Dede
The SK Tirana defender was unlucky as he put the ball into his own net 5 minutes from half time. However he put that behind him and played well in the second half.

Armend Dallku
Dallku was one of the best players for Albania in the field. He was careful in defence and very active in the attack, while he tried to cross many times from the right side. Made a wonderful shot from 25 meters out hitting the woodwork. 

Adrian Aliaj
The start was difficult for the Albanian defender as the Dutch were attacking with Robben from the right side. Nevertheless he showed a better form than his recent matches. He was substituted again by coach Otto Baric.

Altin Lala
Hannover 96 captain, until the moment of substitution, was giving his best in the field, trying to stop the Dutch attacks and giving his help to the two strikers. A violent challenge from De Jong made it impossible for him to continue the game. 

Altin Haxhi
Haxhi played well throughout the 90 minutes helping the defence and attack. Haxhi was careful in defending as the opponent was highly dangerous. With Murati in the field Haxhi' was more confident in his game.

Ervin Skela
The Albanian player was covered well by his opponent and didn't show his best. He had one chance after Albania scored, but even though he was in a good position, he made a poor shot.

Debatik Curri
Albania's only goal came from his feet. This was a very good appearance from Curri, who had many shots on the Dutch goal in the first half. In the second half, after Muka's pass he calmly put the ball behind Van der Sar. This was a very meaningful goal as it changed the flow of the game with Albania attacking dangerously for the remaining minutes in search of an equaliser. 

Igli Tare
Didn't play as well as in his last two games, but the captain was still important to Albania's game. This time Tare didn't make any efforts on goal but had a key role in taking Albania in their opponents half.

Erion Bogdani
The first half was very good for the AC Siena striker, but his best chances to score were in the second half. Bogdani's poor shot in the second half lost Albania's best chance to equalise.

Devi Muka
After a few minutes from the start of the second half, Muka got in his game and this gave its result as his burst from the midfield made the perfect assist for Curri's goal.

Edvin Murati
The left midfielder tried to do his best to make Albania's attacks more lively. Impulsive and fearless with his challenges and outbursts from the left wing. 

Besart Berisha
The Hamburger striker made his debut for Albania. With a few minutes given from coach Otto Baric he showed that he will be a valuable addition for the Albanian side, although its too soon to make a certain judgment.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sep 27 - There were no surprises in the second round of the Albanian Cup played on Wednesday. All the Superleague teams managed to go through to the next round most of them winning at home against an "easy" opponent. Superleague leaders Partizani only managed to draw 2-2 against a fairly young and inexperienced team from Erseka. They managed to go through to the second round thanks to their 2-1 win in Erseka last week. Full results of this round of the Albanian Cup are shown below.

Partizani-Gramozi 	2-2 (2-1) 
Tomori-Erzeni 	2-0 (1-5) 
Pogradeci-Turbina 	2-2 (2-7) 
Luftetari-Beslidhja 	5-0 (0-2) 
Apolonia-Bilisport 	2-0 (0-1) 
Elbasani-Dajti 	1-0 (1-1) 
Lushnja-Ada 	5-1 (1-2) 
Besa-Egnatia 	1-0 (5-0) 
Tirana-Cakrani 	3-0 (0-1) 
Dinamo-Iliria 	3-0 (3-2) 
Shkumbini-Sopoti 	7-0 (2-2) 
Flamurtari-Bureli 	5-1 (0-0) 
Vllaznia-Butrinti 	7-1 (3-1) 
Teuta-Gramshi 	5-1 (1-0) 
Kastrioti-Laci 	1-1 (2-1)
Skenderbeu-Tepelena (Tepelena did not travel to Korca) (1-1)
                    [post_title] =>  No surprises in the Albanian Cup 
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                    [post_content] => With the Albanian league newly expanded from ten teams to 12, KS Shkumbini are leading the early running with two wins and one draw in three games.

New format
Under the new format, the 12 sides will play each other once home and away before an additional round of play-off games in which they will all meet once more. Shkumbini and Partizani have made the brightest start to the new season with 7 points in three games.

Bici hired
Having taken over from Faruk Sejdini, new Shkumbini coach Vasil Bici promised to build a side to battle for the title, and it seems he has been true to his word. They won their opening match 2-1 against KS Flamurtari and then overcame defending champions KS Elbasani 3-0 while drawing the third match 0-0 away against Kastrioti.

Emotional return
KF Tirana opened their league season with a 2-2 draw against Elbasani but then thrashed newcomers KS Kastrioti 7-3 with hat-tricks from both Hamdi Salihi and Vioresin Sinani. The two players will hope to be in similar form when they take on their old side, KS Vllaznia, at the weekend. "It will be very emotional, but we are professionals and we have to do our job," said former Vllaznia captain Sinani. They draw the their third match 1-1 against Vllaznia while playing with nine men for more than 30 minutes.

Hysi fired
The usual flood of coaching changes started early with KS Luftëtari coach Mustafa Hysi being dismissed after a 1-0 opening day defeat at Vllaznia. His replacement, Ilir Spahiu, led the club to a 2-0 win against KS Dinamo Tirana in his first game and a 3-1 loss against Partizani in Luftetari's third game.

Xhafaj shines
Forward Daniel Xhafaj has returned home following trials with clubs in Switzerland and Finland to sign for his old side, KS Teuta. He scored twice on his league return in a 3-1 win at Dinamo Tirana.

Dede back
Nevil Dede is also back at home with Tirana, and he made an immediate impact on his return. A week after his new side had overcome Elbasani 2-0 in the Albanian Super Cup final, Dede scored Tirana's first goal as they clawed back a 2-0 deficit to earn that aforementioned 2-2 draw against the same team. Full standings for the Superleague teams are shown below.
                    [post_title] =>  Shkumbini make a bright start to the new Football season 
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                    [post_content] => DURRES, Aug. 28 - Albanian World Great Master Erald Dervishi, 25, was declared the winner of the 26th international chess festival held in Bratto, Italy from Aug. 19-27. Ten other world masters took part in the event where there were 126 participants. Dervishi collected 7.5 points winning six and drawing three matches. Ukrainian Dimitri Komarov was second with the same points, while the third place was won from the Portuguese master Roberto Mogranzini. Dervishi has graduated law in Padova, Italy. He has said he will return to the country to work and also represent its colors in the world of chess.
                    [post_title] =>  World Great Master Erald Dervishi wins Bratto chess festival 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 8 - Croatian national soccer team coach Otto Baric named Tuesday the 22 national soccer team that will play against San Marino Aug. 16. 
Goalkeepers: Ilion Lika (Dinamo), Isli Hidi (Tirana);
Defenders: Tefik Osmani (Besa), Armend Dallku (Vorskla Poltava), Erion Xhafa (Dinamo), Elvin Beqiri (Metalurg Donetsk), Adrian Aliaj (no team), Lorik Cana (Olimpik Marseje), Arjan Pisha (Tirana)
Midfielders: Klodian Duro (Tirana), Ervin Skela (no team), Edvin Murati (no team), Devi Mukaj (Tirana), Altin Lala (Hanover), Altin Haxhi (Ergotelis), Besnik Hasi (Lokeren), Blendi Shkëmbi (Metalurg Zaporozhje)
Forwards: Erion Bogdani (Siena), Igli Tare (Lacio), Edmond Kapllani (Karlsruhe), Hamdi Salihi (Tirana), Dorian Bylykbashi (no team),  Bekim Kastrati (Eintraht Braunshvajg).
The friendly will serve as a training match before Albania plays Belarus Sept. 2 at 1700 GMT at the Dinamo Minsk stadium for the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
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                    [post_content] => Make a selection on the left to see the news for that year.
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            [post_content] => The Netherlands stayed two points clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group G with a difficult victory over Albania in Amsterdam. 

Tense finish
Robin van Persie's early strike and an own goal by defender Nevil Dede gave the Dutch a comfortable lead, but Debatik Curri reduced the deficit in the second half to ensure a tense finish for the home side as Albania dangerously attacked. While the Dutch now have ten points from their opening four games, Albania sit second-bottom of the section with just one from three matches. 

Bright start 
In the absence of the injured Dirk Kuyt, Netherlands coach Marco van Basten opted for the attacking trio of Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Ryan Babel and his team started brightly. After 12 minutes Van Persie went close to opening the scoring when his long-range drive forced a save from Beqaj and three minutes later, he did break the deadlock, meeting Joris Mathijsen's header and firing home from the centre of the penalty area. 

Opportunities for Landzaat
Midfielder Denny Landzaat wasted the chance to extend the hosts' lead when he shot wide from in the 23rd minute. Soon after he let another opportunity slip by when he blasted over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. Albania then carved out their first chance of the game with Erion Bogdani testing Edwin van der Sar with a long-range drive. 

Own goal
The Netherlands doubled their advantage just before half-time with Dede left embarrassed as he put through his own net. Immediately after the interval, Armend Dallku's long-range drive almost reduced the deficit when the ball hit the post from 25 meters, before Robben's corner was headed over by Van Persie in the 54th minute. 

Lifeline
Robben's ten-metre effort was then punched clear by Beqaj on the hour, before Albania were handed a lifeline in the 67th minute when Muka's pass was lashed home by Curri from 18 yards. Bogdani sent a shot wide from distance in the 70th minute, while Albania were denied two clear penalties as the Dutch defenders handled the ball in the penalty area. 
This was the best performance that Albania has given under coach Otto Baric. Dutch coach Marco van Basten admitted after the game that his side were lucky to maintain the result as he saw his team disperse in the field against a fearless Albanian side that kept them under pressure after pulling back a goal on the 67'th minute. Otto Baric declared that it was pointless to make a statement as this would lead to him being fined 10.000 Euros for accusing the referee for inability. Nevertheless this kind of performance makes Albania a side to be feared Group G.

Match Performance

Arian Beqaj
A very good game for the Albanian goalkeeper, who was decisive throughout 90 minutes with his saves. Beqaj showed his quality as he handled many attacks from Dutch players Van Persie and Robben. He was not to blame for conceding the two goals.

Besnik Hasi
Showed maturity and tried to do his best but, like everyone else, found difficulty dealing with the Dutch attacks in the first half. With the minutes passing by Hasi learned how to deal with his opponents.

Nevil Dede
The SK Tirana defender was unlucky as he put the ball into his own net 5 minutes from half time. However he put that behind him and played well in the second half.

Armend Dallku
Dallku was one of the best players for Albania in the field. He was careful in defence and very active in the attack, while he tried to cross many times from the right side. Made a wonderful shot from 25 meters out hitting the woodwork. 

Adrian Aliaj
The start was difficult for the Albanian defender as the Dutch were attacking with Robben from the right side. Nevertheless he showed a better form than his recent matches. He was substituted again by coach Otto Baric.

Altin Lala
Hannover 96 captain, until the moment of substitution, was giving his best in the field, trying to stop the Dutch attacks and giving his help to the two strikers. A violent challenge from De Jong made it impossible for him to continue the game. 

Altin Haxhi
Haxhi played well throughout the 90 minutes helping the defence and attack. Haxhi was careful in defending as the opponent was highly dangerous. With Murati in the field Haxhi' was more confident in his game.

Ervin Skela
The Albanian player was covered well by his opponent and didn't show his best. He had one chance after Albania scored, but even though he was in a good position, he made a poor shot.

Debatik Curri
Albania's only goal came from his feet. This was a very good appearance from Curri, who had many shots on the Dutch goal in the first half. In the second half, after Muka's pass he calmly put the ball behind Van der Sar. This was a very meaningful goal as it changed the flow of the game with Albania attacking dangerously for the remaining minutes in search of an equaliser. 

Igli Tare
Didn't play as well as in his last two games, but the captain was still important to Albania's game. This time Tare didn't make any efforts on goal but had a key role in taking Albania in their opponents half.

Erion Bogdani
The first half was very good for the AC Siena striker, but his best chances to score were in the second half. Bogdani's poor shot in the second half lost Albania's best chance to equalise.

Devi Muka
After a few minutes from the start of the second half, Muka got in his game and this gave its result as his burst from the midfield made the perfect assist for Curri's goal.

Edvin Murati
The left midfielder tried to do his best to make Albania's attacks more lively. Impulsive and fearless with his challenges and outbursts from the left wing. 

Besart Berisha
The Hamburger striker made his debut for Albania. With a few minutes given from coach Otto Baric he showed that he will be a valuable addition for the Albanian side, although its too soon to make a certain judgment.
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