Ten-man Albania surprise Turkey with 3-2 away victory

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 14, 2017 10:09

Ten-man Albania surprise Turkey with 3-2 away victory

TIRANA, Nov. 14 – Albania beat Turkey 3-2 in a surprise away victory as the Red & Blacks played in 10 men for most of the time after playmaker Ledian Memushaj was sent off with a second yellow card just before the first half.

A double by Legia Warsaw striker Armando Sadiku gave Albania a comfortable first half lead, but down to 10 men from the 41st minute Albania suffered in the second half and had to defend almost all the time to curb Turkey’s numerical superiority.

Winger Eros Grezda was the national side’s hero as he claimed his first national side goal to give 10-men Albania a temporary 3-1 lead before Turkey scored another goal to make it 3-2.

Right winger Odise Roshi was also decisive in the first half as he served striker Sadiku twice to increase his goal tally to 11.

The friendly was a test for the national side as it prepares for the Euro 2020 qualifiers having failed to make it to the World Cup finishing third in a tough group stage that also featured former world champions Spain and Italy.

Coach Christian Pannuci fielded five players in the 25 minutes with AEK Athens attacking midfielder Astrit Ajdarevic and defensive midfielder Kamar Qaka who plays in the Romanian top league, both of whom Kosovo-born players, making their Albania debut.

Speaking after the match, coach Pannuci who claimed his first victory against a tough opponent since take over Albania last July, said the team played a great match, especially in the second half when they were down to ten men.

“The way how we achieved the victory is more important than the victory itself. I am very happy for the way the guys are perceiving what I want,” said Pannuci, a former AC Milan, Real Madrid defender whose Albania job is his first experience as a national side manager after serving as assistant to Fabio Capello, one of the greatest Italian coaches, when he led the Russian national side from 2012 to 2014.

Turkey, who also failed to make it to the World Cup, have been facing tough times under Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu, having won only one out of last six games since last August.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 14, 2017 10:09