Albania climbed up to fourth place in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group G after recording their second victory against Luxembourg in the space of five days.
Edmond Kapllani added to his goal in Albania's 2-0 win in Tirana last Saturday by netting twice at the Josy Barthel stadium after Ervin Skela had opened the scoring for Otto Barić's team. It completed a highly satisfactory week for the Albanians who are now two points above Belarus - albeit still six adrift of second-placed Bulgaria.
It was one-way traffic from the start with a melee in the home goalmouth setting the tone after just four minutes. An Erion Bogdani shot was only half-cleared by goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert who somehow recovered smartly to keep out efforts by Kapllani and Alban Bushaj. Skela and Bogdani posed a constant threat and the visitors spurned several early chances with Joubert the busiest player on the pitch.
The breakthrough eventually came on 25 minutes when Skela gave Joubert no chance with a low drive into the left corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. Luxembourg responded with a Dan Collette effort straight at Arian Beqaj but the visitors then doubled their lead in the 36th minute, Bushi's searching cross from the left met by a well-timed header from Kapllani.
More of the same
Collette appeared to be the only player capable of challenging Albania's control – his long-range drive just after the restart testing Beqaj – but it was soon business as usual. Lorik Cana struck the bar with a free-kick for Albania and 18 minutes from time, Kapllani made it 3-0 as he drilled the ball in from close range from substitute Besart Berisha's low left-wing cross. Barić's men will look forward with renewed confidence to resuming their campaign against the Netherlands on 12 September but for Luxembourg the search for a maiden win continues.