Albania sign off with stylish win in Austria

Austria 1-3 Albania
Albania concluded their campaign by doubling their points tally and denying Austria the chance to move within three points of Group 4 leaders Spain.

Albania celebrate their second win of the campaign
Albania celebrate their second win of the campaign ©

Albania moved off the foot of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 4, and doubled their points tally in the process, after an eye-catching victory in Austria.

A draw would have assured Austria of at least second place and with it the possibility of a play-off berth, but they were second-best throughout to a visiting team who were two up at the break. For Albania this was the perfect end to their eight-match campaign.

The opener, after 19 minutes, stemmed from a goalkeeping error, Christoph Riegler spilling Enis Kavazaj's powerful shot into the net. Captain Vasil Shkurtaj doubled the lead on the cusp of half-time, running onto Mario Morina's pass through the hosts' back line and finishing with aplomb.

Moments after Austria coach Werner Gregoritsch made a double substitution in the hope of changing the course of events, Herolind Shala put the result beyond doubt with a solo 57th-minute goal.

Michael Gregoritsch's added-time penalty, awarded for a foul by Valentin Gjokaj, was scant consolation for a side who play third-ranked Bosnia and Herzegovina and leaders Spain in their last two fixtures.

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