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Tirana take 15th Albanian Cup


Bekim Bala struck in extra time as KF Tirana won a record-equalling 15th Albanian Cup on Wednesday, with a 1-0 defeat denying league champions KS Skënderbeu a domestic double.

Tirana celebrate winning the Albanian Cup
Tirana celebrate winning the Albanian Cup ©LSA

KF Tirana retained the Albanian Cup on Wednesday night, with Bekim Bala striking in extra time to secure a 1-0 victory against league champions KS Skënderbeu.

The game was settled at the start of the second period of extra time, when Bala got his head to substitute Klodian Duro's free-kick. Tirana equalled FK Partizani's record of 15 Albanian Cups, and their Spanish coach Julián Rubio – the first foreign trainer to survive a full season with an Albanian club – said: "I am happy with the win. It would have been a very disappointing season if we had finished with no silverware. We were up against a very good team but we had a great gameplan which the players executed well."

Korce-based Skënderbeu were looking to secure the first Albanian double since Tirana's success in 1998/99, but neither side took many risks in the opening 90 minutes. Sebino Plaku passed up the best chance for Skënderbeu just before the break, firing over the bar with only goalkeeper Ilion Lika to beat, while Tirana's efforts were limited to long shots from Bala and Arjan Pisha which caused opposition keeper Orges Shehi little concern.

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