Skenderbeu end debut Europa League campaign

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 11, 2015 12:44

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  • Skenderbeu's Nigerian striker Peter Olayinka has reached a deal with top Belgium club Gent for a reported €1 million, setting a record transfer fee for an Albanian club

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skbTIRANA, Dec. 11 - Albania's Skenderbeu ended their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 home defeat against Russia's Lokomotiv Moscow, finishing  bottom in Group H, but making history as the first Albanian club to have made to the group stage of a major European competition.

The five-time consecutive Albanian champions produced another lackluster performance to concede two late goals in their last group stage fixture to finish bottom with only three points from a historic victory against Portugal's Sporting CP. The Portuguese came from behind one goal to secure a qualifying  victory against Turkey's Besiktas in their last match on Thursday.

Last November, Skenderbeu avenged their disastrous 5-1 first-leg defeat away to Sporting with a 3-0 home win, registering their first Europea League surprise victory.

Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting made it to the Europa League last 32.

Skenderbeu's coach Mirel Josa said he was disappointed by the performance and worried over the departure of some of the team's stars.

Skenderbeu's Nigerian striker Peter Olayinka has reached a deal with top Belgium club Gent for a reported €1 million, setting a record transfer fee for an Albanian club. Gent claimed a historic qualification this week, becoming the first Belgian side to progress to the Champions League knockout stage.

Albanian international Hamdi Salihi is also rumored for a move in the January transfer window.

Skenderbeu became the first Albanian club to qualify for the Champions League play-offs after beating Moldova’s Milsami 4-0 on aggregate in the competition’s third qualifying round, automatically securing a place in the less prestigious Europa League group stage.

Skenderbeu entered the Europa League after failing to qualify in the more prestigious UEFA Champions League after losing to Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb in the play-off stage.

The Albanian reigning champions, named after national hero Skanderbeg, will now focus on the Albanian championship where they rank second, two points behind leaders Partizani.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 11, 2015 12:44