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Champions rampant in Albania

Published: Thursday 9 December 2004, 11.58CET
Monthly review: KF Tirana have established a seven-point lead at the top of the Albanian First Division.
Published: Thursday 9 December 2004, 11.58CET

Champions rampant in Albania

Monthly review: KF Tirana have established a seven-point lead at the top of the Albanian First Division.
KF Tirana have a seven-point lead at the top of the Albanian First Division after a superb autumn for the capital club.

Unstoppable run
While a 3-1 defeat by KS Elbasani on 24 October finally ended Tirana's perfect start to the season, they have not dropped any points since and second-placed Elbasani have much to do if they are to wrest the title from Sulejman Starova's side.

Elbasani blunders
Goals from Eriol Merxha, Albert Kaçi and Klevis Dalipi helped Elbasani to victory against Tirana, but they surrendered the initiative to their rivals on 20 November when a Bledar Mançaku strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at KS Teuta. A goalless draw against KS Dinamo Tirana in their next game extended Tirana's advantage.

Teuta rising
There is an eight-point gap between Elbasani and third-placed KS Vllaznia, who have been in indifferent form since Hamdi Salihi's hat-trick fired them to a 7-0 win against rock-bottom KS Laçi on 23 October. Sixth-placed Teuta, meanwhile, are on the up after beating Laçi 6-1 in their latest match.

Mid-table obscurity
KS Shkumbini and Dinamo Tirana are directly above Teuta, with FK Partizani and KS Lushnja below, and all have had seasons ranging from indifferent to desperate. Nonetheless, these teams should be safe from the drop if second-bottom KF Egnatia, who dismissed coach Hysen Dedja on 4 December, continue to struggle.

Egnatia struggling
A 1-0 success against Vllaznia on 20 November proved another false dawn for Egnatia, who are looking for their third coach of the campaign following the dismissals of Petrit Haxhia and now Dedja. The latter had already been sacked by Laçi earlier in the season.

Laçi last
Egnatia have 12 points from 14 games but remain eleven clear of luckless Laçi, whose solitary point came courtesy of James Osusi's 85th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Lushnja on 18 September. At this rate, both promoted sides - Laçi and Egnatia - will be relegated in the spring.

Last updated: 31/01/12 9.43CET

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