Romania vs. Albania: Score and Twitter Reaction from Euro 2016

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2016

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 19:  Armando Sadiku (L) of Albania celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mate Ermir Lenjani (R) during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Romania and Albania at Stade des Lumieres on June 19, 2016 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Albania toppled Romania in a physical match in Group A at UEFA Euro 2016, winning 1-0 at the Stade de Lyon on Sunday night.

Armando Sadiku wrote his name into Albanian football folklore, as he headed home after 43 minutes to shock a lacklustre Romanian team.

The Tricolorii hunted for an equaliser deep into the encounter but couldn't find the goal they desired after a poor first half from their players.

Romania set up in a 4-2-3-1 as Bogdan Stancu pulled the strings, but Albania's work rate and aggression damaged their opponent's morale. Albania manager Giovanni De Biasi placed Lorik Cana on the bench as his team set up in a 4-1-4-1 with Sadiku ahead of the midfield.

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 19:  Armando Sadiku (1st L) of Albania heads the ball to score the opening goal past Ciprian Tatarusanu (2nd L) of Romania during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Romania and Albania at Stade des Lumieres on June 19, 2016 in Ly
Julian Finney/Getty Images

BeIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri set out possible qualification route for the Romanians at kick-off:

Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

It was Albania who raced out of the traps quickest, as Romania looked disorganised and exposed. The Albania fans were once again signing their hearts out from the stands, while their heroic team did their best to drive forward.

Romania did create chances despite their lack of penetration as Stancu and Denis Alibec went close.

There was a real solidity about Albania as the first half unfolded, and they nearly took the lead through Ermir Lenjani, but the midfielder fluffed his lines when it looked like he would take the glory.

James Ducker of the Telegraph called the action as the Albanians made a credible drive forward:

Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Sadiku worked tirelessly on his own at the point of the attack as Romania remained pedestrian in a number of positions, and the FC Zurich player was rewarded shortly before the break.

The striker pointed where he wanted the ball, and Ledian Memushaj provided a looping cross, allowing Sadiku to lob his header over stranded goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu—who misjudged the flight of the ball.

The goal was met with further disturbances from the crowd after flares went off around the ground at kick-off, as highlighted by journalist Nick Ames of the Guardian:

OptaPaolo provided statistical information at half-time, as the Albania fans cheered their players off the pitch:

Ed Malyon of the Mirror was impressed with the application of the Albanians:

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 19: Ledian Memushaj of Albania and Denis Alibec of Romania during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Romania and Albania at Stade des Lumieres on June 19, 2016 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Alibec was stretchered off on the hour mark after a leg injury, clearly in distress as the physio and doctors attended to the 25-year-old attacker.

Goal hero Sadiku was also substituted to a standing ovation as Albania opted for a defensive shape to see out the final 30 minutes.

Romania began to edge back into the game as their opponents sat back. Albania lost their attacking verve as they quickly made overtly defensive tactical changes in hunt of the points on offer.

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 19:  Romania's Nicolae Stanciu under pressure from Albania's Migjen Basha during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between Romania and Albania at Stade de Lyon on June 19 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Kevin Barnes/CameraSport via Getty Im
Kevin Barnes - CameraSport/Getty Images

The Romanians were back in the tie in the final 20 minutes, exclusively playing their football in Albanian territory.

Gabriel Torje had a good chance to obtain the equaliser, but the Osmanlıspor winger sliced his effort wide.

Romania hit the woodwork after 75 minutes as sub Florin Andone smashed his shot against the upright, to the groans of both sets of supporters in the stands.

Northern Irishman and presenter Colin Murray was clear where his allegiance stood:

Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

The contest swung back and forth in the dying minutes as space began to open up with Romania throwing caution to the wind in attack.

However, it was too little, too late for the team in yellow as Albania cleared their lines consistently to earn a famous win for the minnows.

The victory sees Albania climb to third in Group A, but they will have to wait for results from other groups to see if they qualify as a best third-placed side.

The Albanians thoroughly deserved the points at full-time, as Romania exit the competition, bottom of the group. 

 

Post-Match Reaction

Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati commented after the result and congratulated the nation's players on their surprise win:

France's goalless draw with Switzerland on Sunday sees the hosts finish winners of Group A, with the Swiss trailing in second.