Belarus bring halt to Albania run
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Belarus 2-0 Albania
Vitali Rodionov and substitute Sergei Krivets scored to reward the home team's dominance as Albania's unbeaten run ended.
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Belarus ended Albania's unbeaten run with a dominant performance that earned them a valuable victory in UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying Group D.
Albania had not been defeated in eight games before their trip to Minsk, including their first three qualifiers, but goals from Vitali Rodionov and Sergei Krivets ensured Belarus put Friday's 0-0 draw in Luxembourg behind them. The result moves Belarus three points ahead of third-placed Albania, with the return fixture scheduled for 26 March next year.
Bernd Stange's home side made a bright start and went ahead within ten minutes. Arjan Beqaj could only parry Aleksandr Kulchiy's powerful shot and that allowed Rodionov to turn in the rebound. Belarus continued to press and went close to doubling their advantage when Igor Shitov's lob rebounded off the crossbar.
The hosts' dominance continued after the break but it was only after Krivets was introduced on 75 minutes that they increased their lead. Within two minutes of arriving on the pitch, the KKS Lech Poznań midfielder headed a Timofei Kalachev cross into the far corner. Albania then ended the game with ten men after Armend Dallku received a second yellow card in the last minute.