Albania stand up to Denmark in Euro qualifier

Copenhagen, Sep 5 (IANS) Denmark failed to overtake Portugal at the top of Euro 2016 qualifying Group I as a resolute Albania refused to buckle in here as their match ended in a

Denmark coach Morten Olsen pulled a rabbit out of the hat by giving 20-year-old Pione Sisto his debut and the talented Midtjylland winger showed plenty of promise in the first half on Friday.

After 15 minutes, he had the first effort of the match but despite displaying his quick feet to cruise past Albania captain Lorik Cana the finish flew straight into the arms of Etrit Berisha. The visitors were not without threat themselves and Sokol Çikalleshi’s header had Kasper Schmeichel scrambling to tip over the bar.

Olsen attempted to up his sides’ game in the second period by introducing both goalscorers from June’s win against Serbia – Yussuf Poulsen and Jakob Poulsen. That tipped the balance the way of the Danes and they cranked up the pressure on Berisha’s goal.

Nicklas Bendtner had a shot blocked on the line by Ansi Agolli eight minutes after the restart before Nicolai Jorgensen followed up with a number of big chances. It looked like he had given the hosts the lead when his header from Jakob Poulsen’s corner was heading into the net only for Berisha to pull off an outstanding stop.

Two minutes later it was Jorgensen who dribbled pass two defenders but sent a shot straight into the arms of the keeper. Denmark pushed all the way to the end but there was almost a sting in the tail for them side as Odise Roshi sprinted clear on the break in added time but a sigh of relief sounded from the stadium as Schmeichel made himself big to deny the substitute an unlikely winner.

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