Albania’s Skenderbeu close to making history in European football

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 29, 2015 11:10

salihiTIRANA, July 29 – Albania’s Skenderbeu is one step from making history in European football after beating Moldova’s Milsami in 2-0 in an away victory in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

The Albanian five-time consecutive champions are well placed to become the first Albanian team to reach the UEFA Champions League play-offs after Hamdi Salihi’s double, wrote UEFA on its website.

In case of failing to qualify in the Champions League play-offs, the Albanian champions will play in the less prestigious Europa League group stage, which is also a great success and the first time for an Albanian football club in this tournament.

Albania’s international Hamdi Sahihi, who has joined the southeastern club only recently after playing for one year in the Israeli championship, was Skenderbeu’s hero in Moldova with two goals from a close range and a penalty kick in each half.

The home match with Milsami will be played next week with Skenderbeu holding a comfortable advantage of two away goals.

Skenderbeu coach Mirel Josa described the match as perfect.

“We are very close to making history and we want to continue like this. Nothing has finished and the players must stay with their feet on the ground.” he said.

Skenderbeu previously beat Northern Ireland’s Crusaders.

Another Albanian team, Kukesi is hoping to qualify for the Europe League and has been drawn against Poland’s Legia Warsaw in the third qualifying round after beating Montenegro’s Mladost Podgorica.

On the club front, Skënderbeu, five-in-a-row Albanian Super League winners between 2011 and 2015, became the first Albanian club to reach the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round in 2013/14 and that same summer, together with FK Kukësi, were the first Albanian team to contest the UEFA Europa League play-offs.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 29, 2015 11:10