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Season review: Albania

Published: Thursday 30 June 2011, 13.46CET
KF Tirana won the sweetest of derbies in the cup final but KS Skënderbeu were the big news in Albania as they romped to their first title in 78 years after a stunning end to the campaign.
Season review: Albania
Skënderbeu celebrate their title triumph ©LSA
Published: Thursday 30 June 2011, 13.46CET

Season review: Albania

KF Tirana won the sweetest of derbies in the cup final but KS Skënderbeu were the big news in Albania as they romped to their first title in 78 years after a stunning end to the campaign.

A fantastic finish to the season saw KS Skënderbeu emerge as comfortable winners of the Albanian Super League in a season which saw KF Tirana enjoy cup success against their city rivals.

Champions: KS Skënderbeu
Skënderbeu won their first title since 1933 in dramatic fashion, embarking on a run of 14 wins and three draws prior to their loss to runners-up KS Flamurtari on the final day. Shpëtim Duro replaced Shkëlqim Muça as coach 20 games into the season and guided his new charges on a 12-match unbeaten run which ultimately left them seven points clear at the summit.

Cup final: KF Tirana 1-1 KS Dinamo Tirana (Tirana won 4-3 on pens)
Ilion Lika was the hero for KF Tirana, saving three spot kicks in the shoot-out to earn his side their 14th cup triumph, this time at the expense of capital rivals Dinamo.

European Places
KS Skënderbeu – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
KF Tirana – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
KS Vllaznia – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
KS Flamurtari – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Daniel Xhafaj (KS Flamurtari)
With four goals in his last five matches, to take his season tally to 18, the 34-year-old striker won the Albanian Super League Golden Shoe award for the second successive campaign. He also found the net 18 times in 2009/10, then playing for KS Besa.

One to watch: Armando Vajushi (KS Vllaznia)
Aged 19, Vajushi is one of the hottest prospects in Albania. In only his second season he made 32 appearances for his club and scored three goals. He also made his full international debut in the 4-0 friendly defeat by Argentina on 20 June.

Surprise package: KS Dinamo Tirana
Having won the title last term, Dinamo found themselves at the wrong end of the table this season and up against KS Besëlidhja in a relegation play-off. Despite offloading some of their prize assets, a 4-1 victory saved a season forget for the capital club, Albanian Cup final disappointment included.

Number: 11
Bizarrely, KF Tirana finished the season with 11 wins, 11 draws, 11 defeats and a goal difference of +11.

Leading scorer: Daniel Xhafa (KS Flamurtari) 18

Relegated: KS Elbasani, KS Besa

Promoted: KS Apolonia, KF Tomorri, KF Kamza, KS Pogradeci

Quote
"It was a great season and it was great to see our city and our fans enjoy this title. This town loves soccer and deserved this win. Let's do it again next season."
Skënderbeu president Agim Zeqo refuses to rest on his laurels

Last updated: 08/07/11 17.00CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=alb/news/newsid=1648033.html#season+review+albania

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