Albanian Goalkeeper Keeps Portugal at Bay


Albania 2-2 Portugal (U21)

A fine performance from the Albanian goalkeeper helped Albania to a 2-2 draw against Portugal in Group 6 of the 2013 UEFA U-21 Qualification. Portugal had the majority of the chances of the night, but the keeper held Portugal to just two goals. Portugal now sit at second in Group 6 with eight points, with qualification still a possibility. The team must win more matches if they hope to qualify for the tournament proper, as they are currently now ranked very highly on the second-place team ranking.

The game started with Portugal on the front foot. After just two minutes of play, Josue recorded the first shot of the night, after he lifted his shot well over the goal, not troubling the Albanian goalkeeper. Soon after, some excellent wing play from Wilson Eduardo was finished with a cross, which was met by a ferocious volley from Andre Martins. The Albanian goalkeeper reacted well to record his first save of the night, and keep the scores level at 0-0. Portugal continued to press and completely dominate Albania, and it all payed off. Ruben Ferreira whipped in a pin-point cross, which met the head of Josue, who tucked his header into the bottom corner. That was how the half ended: 1-0 in Portugal’s favor. The team looked worthy of the lead, as they were the only of the two to create any sort of chances.

The second half started in almost spectacular fashion. Wilson Eduardo’s run was picked out well by Andre Martins. Eduardo dribbled the ball and shot, only for the Albanian keeper to save. The rebound fell to the onrushing Andre Martins, whose shot was stopped by the leg of an Albanian defender. That save deflected the ball back out to just outside the box, where Pele was waiting. The midfielder had the presence of mind to send in a chipped shot. Once again, however, the opposition goalkeeper was on hand to make the save, this time an acrobatic fingertip save. Albania responded quickly with virtually their first chance of the game. A lofted ball was sent in by an Albanian defender. The pass was met by an Albanian, whose header was controlled by Sadiku, and shot first time. The ball flew past the Mika to give Albania a surprise goal and level the scores at 1-1. Portugal, however, responded also. A peach of a cross was sent in by Cedric, and Wilson Eduardo headed the ball smartly over the opposition keeper. The score was now at 1-2, but it wasn’t set to stay that way. Some lax defending from Portugal allowed Sadiku to shoot on goal, and score. Mika will be faulted for this goal, but in truth it was a poor defensive showing in general. That was how the match ended: 2-2.

Mika, Ruben Ferreira(Ludovic), Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Cedric, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins, Josue, Salvador Agra(Pele), Nelson Oliveira(Rui Fonte), Wilson Eduardo

Man of the Match: Wilson Eduardo

Crutch of the Match: Mika

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