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Albania's Gjasula scores at both ends in epic draw

2024/06/19 16:12
E2

Albania's Klaus Gjasula scored a dramatic late equaliser - after earlier netting an own goal - as the Group B minnows earned a deserved 2-2 draw against Croatia in Hamburg on Wednesday. 

A goal up at the break, the Albanians looked on course to finish empty-handed when Andrej Kramaric and Gjasula's own goal put Croatia 2-1 up late on. 

However, Sylvinho's dogged side kept pushing for an equaliser and Gjasula slotted home a fantastic strike deep into added time to ensure the spoils were shared after a thrilling Euro 2024 contest. 


Action: A bright start from Albania saw them hassle and harry Croatia in the opening minutes, but the 2018 World Cup runners-up looked to have found their stride with some controlled possession. 

However, though Albania took a while longer than they did against Italy in their opening game, it was Sylvinho's side who took the lead on 11 minutes through Qazim Laci. 

From the first attempt on goal in the game, Laci headed home a delicious cross from Jasir Asani to give the underdogs the lead with a goal that will not have pleased Dominik Livakovic - the Croatian goalkeeper slow to react and late with his attempted parry. 

Albania managed to maintain their attacking threat, but there were gaps to exploit for Croatia. Marcelo Brozovic dragged one shot wide and Bruno Petkovic headed over for the Croatians, as they attempted to find their way back into the game. 

In terms of clear cut chances, though, it was Albania making all the running and Livakovic had already atoned for his earlier mistake with a fine save from Kristjan Asllani before Rey Manaj directed a header straight at Croatia's keeper at the end of the half. 

Half-time: Croatia 0-1 Albania

Croatia had to improve after the break and they immediately did: Luka Sucic drawing a decent save from Strakosha with his side's first shot on target and Kovacic's deflected effort skidding into the hands of the grateful Brentford keeper soon afterwards. 

Albania had another let off on 57 minutes when Luka Modric's corner was headed wide by the well-placed Josip Sutalo. 

The game was fascinatingly poised and, just as Croatia fans were becoming desperate, Zlatko Dalic's team turned things around. 

Former Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric had been quiet, but when his chance arrived on 73 minutes he made no mistake to level the score at 1-1, his low strike through Elseid Hysaj's legs wrong-footing Strakosha. 

Just two minutes later and Croatia had completed a stunning turnaround. Sub Mario Pasalic caused havoc down his side's left flank and his cross ricocheted around the Albanian defence before bouncing into the net off of the unfortunate Klaus Gjasula. 

It seemed as if Albania's gutsy performance would be in vain - but these Euros have been high on entertainment, and a fantastic twist in the tale remained!

Deep into added time at the end of the game, the Albanians kept pushing and a lovely move down the left saw the ball squared to Gjasula - who put his own goal behind him with an assured low finish to make it 2-2. 

Man of the match: Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric was close to winning the award for turning the tide with his clinical second half strike. However, it has to go to an Albanian player after a fantastic display - and you can't look further than Gjasula. The first player to ever come on and score an own goal as a sub at a European Championships, Gjasula more than made amends with an equaliser that immediately becomes one of the iconic moments of the tournament.   

Big picture: Croatia and Albania are both two points adrift of Spain and Italy in Group B having played a game more. Both sides will more than likely need to secure victories from their final group games if they are to entertain hopes of making the last 16. Albania face Spain next Monday, while Croatia take on the Azzurri. 

xG: Croatia (2.74) 2-2 (1.54) Albania

Stat of the match: Croatia goal scorer Kramaric turned 33 today. He is only the third player to score at a European Championships on their birthday - after Jean-Francois Domergue and Wesley Sneijder.



Poll

POLL RESULTS

CROATIA
DRAW
ALBANIA

Comments

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motivo:
2024-06-19 17h21m by eyoungs8
As a football fan of one of the teams, I have to say that this was a rollercoaster of a match! Albania showed great determination and tenacity throughout the game, especially in the second half. Gjasula's own goal was a bit of a setback, but his late equaliser was a fantastic strike that earned us a well-deserved draw against a tough opponent like Croatia. Proud of our team's performance!
JR
2024-06-19 16h45m by jreedmanbrst
As a fan of the Albanian team, I have to say that was a rollercoaster of emotions! Gjasula's own goal had me worried, but he more than made up for it with that fantastic strike in added time. Proud of our team for never giving up and earning a well-deserved draw against a tough opponent.
classic matches
U Wednesday, 19 June 2024 - 14:00
Volksparkstadion
François Letexier
2-2
Andrej Kramaric 74'
Qazim Laçi 11'
Klaus Gjasula 76' (o.g.) 90'
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