Albania’s Skenderbeu progress to third Europa League qualifying round

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 21, 2017 11:21

Albania’s Skenderbeu progress to third Europa League qualifying round

TIRANA, July 21 – Skenderbeu progressed to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League after beating Kazakhstan’s Kairat Almaty 3-1 on aggregate, remaining the sole Albanian club in European competition after all Kukes, Partizani and Tirana were disqualified in their first round campaigns.

Skenderbeu, who beat Kairat 2-0 in their second leg home fixture, will now face Czech Republic’s Mladá Boleslav in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

The Korça-based club, who have dominated Albanian football in the past decade, need to beat the Czechs and pass another play-off round in order to make another Europa League group stage appearance.

In the first qualifying round, Skenderbeu easily beat modest Andorran side Sant Julia 6-0 on aggregate.

In this year’s UEFA Europa league campaign, Skenderbeu was the only Albanian club that was seeded in the draw thanks to their Europa League European competition in 2015-16 when they became the first-ever Albanian team to play in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.

Skenderbeu return to European competition after a one-year ban imposed by European football governing body, UEFA, on match-fixing allegations in the 2015-2016 Champions and Europa League campaigns.

Last month, Albania’s football association also stripped the ‘Snow Wolves’ of their 2015-2016 Superliga title on match fixing allegations, cutting their six straight titles to five. The club have denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier this week, Albania’s debut champions Kukes were unlucky to progress to the next Champions League qualifying round, despite winning their home match. Kukes beat Moldova’s Sheriff 2-1 in the second leg home match, but were disqualified because of the Moldovans’ away goal after losing 1-0 in the first leg.

Kukes, who won their first Superliga title this year, were unlucky as they missed a penalty kick and even hit the post in injury time to score a qualifying goal.

Partizani and Tirana were easily beaten in their first qualifying Europa League rounds by Bulgarian and Israeli sides.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 21, 2017 11:21