Romania 0-1 Albania: Armando Sadiku header hands minnows famous win
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 20/06/16 4:25pm
Armando Sadiku's goal saw Albania record an historic 1-0 win over Romania at Euro 2016 on Sunday, a result that sees them finish third in Group A.
The striker's header two minutes before half-time, after a mistake by Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, handed Albania their first-ever victory at a major tournament.
As a result, Albania finished third on three points and are now in with a chance of progressing to the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams, while last-placed Romania go home having collected just one point.
Romania made five changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Switzerland last time out, with both the experienced Razvan Rat and Mihai Pintilii still missing through injury.
Group A final table
Meanwhile, Albania boss Gianni De Biasi - who made just one alteration from the 1-0 defeat to France in midweek - opted to leave Lorik Cana on the bench, despite his captain having serving a one-match suspension for his sending-off in the opening game against the Swiss.
However, it was Romania who started the better of the two as they went in search of the win that both teams needed to have any hope of making it through to the knockout stage of the competition.
Bogdan Stancu tested Etrit Berisha early on with a well-struck volley from the edge of the area, but while Romania may have dominated possession, they found it hard to carve out any meaningful opportunities in the opening quarter of the contest.
In fact it was Albania who should have taken the lead midway through the first half following a lightening quick counterattack that ended with Andi Lila being released down the right flank.
However, despite playing an inch-perfect ball across the across the six-yard box, Ermir Lenjani somehow side-footed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
That miss, though, was soon forgotten as Albania took a 43rd-minute lead, albeit with a bit of help from Romania No 1 Tatarusanu, the tallest 'keeper at Euro 2016.
Albania worked the ball to Ledian Memushaj following a throw in on the right-hand touchline, with the Pescara midfielder then crossing a hopeful centre towards Sadiku at the far post.
Tatarusanu came for the cross, but misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Sadiku the chance to head into an unguarded net for his side's first tournament goal, while also sparking jubilant scenes both in the Albania end and the technical area.
If Albania were expecting a second-half onslaught from Romania, though, they were much mistaken, with Anghel Iordanescu's men struggling to create any clear-cut openings after the break, despite making three changes before the 70th minute.
One of those substitutes, Florin Andone, came closest to grabbing an unlikely equaliser 14 minutes from time, but after being slid down the right-hand channel of the box, his sweetly struck shot crashed against the bar.
Thereafter, Albania held on with relatively few scares to record their maiden win at the finals of a major tournament, and so becoming just the third first timers to achieve that feat at the European championship.
However, De Biasi and Co will now have to wait to discover if their first victory over Romania since 1948 has kept them in Euro 2016.