Lexical UnitsScenesConcept HierarchiesSound ExamplesParallel Texts

Albania boosted by Bushaj

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

By Timur Kamashev at Tcentralny stadium

[1] Albania withstood a wave of attacks from Kazakhstan to record their first ever FIFA World Cup away win thanks to Alban Bushaj's solitary strike against their Group 2 rivals.

Thirty-two game wait

[2] Having previously only had a UEFA European Championship triumph in Moldova in June 1995 to show for their major competitive travels, Albania had drawn two and lost 29 of their previous World Cup games away from home - but having already beaten UEFA EURO 2004™ victors Greece in this group, they have now won again.

Morev saviour

[3] In spite of the home side's early pressure it was the Albanians who created the game's first clear-cut chance. Altin Haxhi blasted the ball which appeared to be dipping under the crossbar until Andrei Morev reacted well to limit the visitors to a corner.

Baltiev denied

[4] The early scare shook Sergei Timofeev's team into life and they soon took control with a string of chances. First Ruslan Baltiev tried his luck from the edge of the box but goalkeeper Fotaq Strakosha was equal to the effort. Kazakhstan captain Samat Smakov volleyed over the bar before Baltiev went close again just before half-time, shooting narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

Bushaj profligacy

[5] Bushaj enjoyed the visitors' best first-half opportunity, sending the ball fizzing centimetres over the crossbar, but it remained goalless at the break. The opening stages of the second half were even, with much of the action in or around the centre-circle.

Deadlock broken

[6] If anything, the Albanians appeared to be keener to break the deadlock - and they got their reward on the hour when Bushaj raced after a bouncing ball, outstripped two defenders for pace and neatly nodded the ball into the net.

Late chance

[7] Despite trailing, Kazakhstan continued to perform with discipline and soon regained the initiative. Baltiev tested Strakosha's reflexes for a third time and with only a few minutes remaining, substitute Maksim Shevchenko volleyed a good chance wide from 20 metres out to leave the home fans disappointed.

Next fixtures

[8] Today's result takes the victors' Group 2 points tally to six from four games and they now lie third after Denmark were held by Turkey - Albania's next opponents in March. Kazakhstan have lost their first three competitive games as UEFA members, and go to Greece next month.

Alexandr Familtsev of Kazakhstan leaps with Albania's Igle Tare