<
>
Group Stage 2016
  • Ermir Lenjani (38')
  • Lasse Vibe (81')

Albania 1-1 Denmark

Albania proved their giant-killing performance in Portugal was no fluke as they came within minutes of beating former European champions Denmark in Tirana.

Gianni De Biasi's side stunned Portugal in September and looked ready to dish out another 1-0 defeat when Ermir Lenjani fired the Eagles ahead at the Qemal Stafa Stadium on Saturday night.

Albania pushed hard for another goal but exhausted themselves in the process, eventually conceding a late goal to Lasse Vibe.

That forced a 1-1 draw which saw the points - and top spot in European Championship Qualifying Group I - shared.

Confidence may have been sky-high in the Albanian camp following their heroics in Lisbon but, back on home turf, they had to withstand an early assault from Denmark.

Simon Kjaer warmed Etrit Berisha's palms with a close-range header before Christian Eriksen found the space he needed to drive the ball just over Albania's crossbar.

Yussuf Poulsen came knocking, missing the mark by inches from a good position, and another Kjaer header, this time set up by an Eriksen and his free-kick, just flew over.

From the 24th minute onwards Albania pushed back, with Andi Lila heading over from 12 yards and Taulant Xhaka finding Kasper Schmeichel's gloves with a well-aimed free-kick from distance.

When Poulsen forced Berisha to tip his snapshot around a post in the 33rd minute it looked like Denmark were taking the initiative once again, but five minutes later they would fall behind.

Albania's shock opener came thanks to Lenjani, who loped in from the left wing to curl a marvellous shot into the far right corner.

The hosts might even have taken a two-goal lead into the break had Bekim Balaj applied better accuracy when attempting to convert Ansi Agolli's pinpoint cross.

The match took a little while to reignite following the restart but, in the 59th minute, Balaj almost scored Albania's second goal when getting his head to the ball in the six-yard box.

Four minutes later Mergim Mavraj pinged Xhaka's corner just wide of Schmeichel's upright and goalscorer Lenjani soon went close from a similar position.

Albania had perhaps been naive in expending their energy so keenly and, despite dominating the game, they were finally pegged back in the 81st minute.

Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner supplied the pass that Vibe tucked home and Denmark had done just enough to rescue a valuable point.

ends