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Albania end losing streak against Romania

Romania 1-1 Albania
Gjergj Muzaka struck three minutes from time as the visitors denied Romania victory for the first time in their last ten attempts.

Romania's Ciprian Deac (right) is tackled by Ervin Bulku of Albania
Romania's Ciprian Deac (right) is tackled by Ervin Bulku of Albania ©Getty Images

Romania and Albania both struck in the closing ten minutes as they drew 1-1 in their opening UEFA EURO 2012 Group D qualifier.

Razvan Lucescu's hosts were more of an attacking threat throughout, but it was not until the 80th minute that substitute Bogdan Stancu put them in front. Albania, though, struck back through their own replacement, Gjergj Muzaka, three minutes from time to deny Romania victory for the first time in the last ten meetings between the teams; they had last avoided defeat in the fixtures in in October 1949 when they drew 1-1 in Bucharest.

Sixty-one years on the visitors were nearly behind after just a minute, Ciprian Marica shooting against the post after Răzvan Raţ's precise cross from the left.  Ciprian Deac was next to go close as Romania started to go through the gears but his fine effort was kept out by an athletic save from Arian Beqaj. Deac and Gabriel Torje were a constant menace for Romania, whose dominance looked set to go unrewarded thanks to the visitors' stern defence.

Indeed, Hamdi Salihi nearly punished their profligacy when he turned Ansi Agolli's pass narrowly wide before Romania finally took the lead when Gabriel Mureşan met Deac's corner with his head and Stancu prodded past Beqaj from close range. Just as maximum points seemed assured, Muzaka headed in from a free-kick to leave Albania in high spirits ahead of the visit of Luxembourg on Tuesday, when Romania go to Belarus.