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Serbia spoil Albania's big night

Albania 0-2 Serbia
Added-time goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajić left Giovanni de Biasi's team needing three points in Armenia to qualify.

Albania 0-2 Serbia: the story in photos ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Aleksandar Kolarov scores in added time to break Albania's spirits
  • Adem Ljajić makes it 2-0 on the break three minutes later
  • Result leaves Albania third, a point behind Denmark
  • Albania must win on Sunday to book a UEFA EURO 2016 place
  • Last games: Armenia v Albania, Serbia v Portugal (Sunday)

Stoppage-time goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajić silenced a substantial crowd in Elbasan, Serbia's win leaving Albania with a tricky last-day task in UEFA EURO 2016 Group I.

Albania enjoyed the bulk of the first-half possession, but the visitors carried a more tangible threat. Branislav Ivanović blasted over after one smartly worked move from a corner, and Ljajić later had the ball in the net – his effort ruled out for Zoran Tošić's foul on goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.

A deluge just before half-time did not help to cool Albania down. Lorik Cana despaired after flashing one loose ball off target, and Taulant Xhaka had his head in his hands on the hour as his shot was deflected across goal after a rare lapse in the Serbian back line left him with a chance.

With Portugal taking the lead against Denmark, the stage was set for Albania to seize their finals place. One goal would have done it, and they went close; Sokol Çikalleshi's drive was pushed wide and Cana headed over from the resulting corner.

However, the end was even more agonising for Giovanni de Biasi's side. Not long after bending a free-kick just round the post, Kolarov beat Berisha with a low angled effort a minute into added time, and with Albania committing men forward, they were hit on the break, Ljajić haring through to clip the ball past the goalkeeper. Albania must now win in Armenia to be sure of going to their first major final tournament.