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Albania make history in Armenia

Armenia 0-3 Albania
The Black Eagles reached their first senior final tournament after a dominant away success in Yerevan secured second place in Group I.

Highlights: See how Albania clinched first finals place
  • Albania qualify for first major tournament with victory against Armenia
  • Kamo Hovhannisyan own goal gives visitors ninth-minute lead
  • Berat Xhimshiti doubles advantage in first half
  • Substitute Armando Sadiku secures historic place in finals
  • Armenia fail to record a win at home in Group I

Albania made history by reaching a major tournament finals for the first time with victory against Armenia in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group I, thanks to a dominant display in Yerevan.

Needing an away success to overtake Denmark in the section's second automatic qualifying berth, Albania took control of the fixture thanks to Kamo Hovhannisyan's ninth-minute own goal and Berat Xhimshiti's deflected set piece on 23 minutes. Substitute Armando Sadiku finished off a fine move 14 minutes before time to seal the result.

Still seeking their first home win in this campaign, Armenia began brightly and enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the first ten minutes, with Yura Movsisyan's strike testing Albania goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. However, just two minutes later, the visitors broke the deadlock. Home custodian Gevorg Kasparov did well to save a Migjen Basha effort inside the area before Hovhannisyan bundled the rebound into his own net.

Albania celebrate scoring
Albania celebrate scoring©AFP/Getty Images

Within touching distance of qualifying for their first ever major tournament, the Black Eagles kept on pushing and on 23 minutes doubled their advantage. Xhimshiti's deflected free-kick beat Kasparov at his near post as Sargis Hovsepyan's charges suffered more bad luck in the first half. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcos Pizzelli then squandered openings as the hosts searched for a way back into the tie.

Things did not improve for Armenia as the visitors went further ahead with 14 minutes remaining. Substitute Sadiku started the move before he swept in Odise Roshi's cutback as Giovanni de Biasi's side sealed a historic achievement. Indeed, their only European final tournaments to date had been the Under-18 showcase in 1982 and the U16s in 1994.