Armando Sadiku’s looping header gave Albania the historic victory over Romania, but they must wait to see if they’ll continue at Euro 2016.
They finish third in Group A on three points behind France and Switzerland, so could qualify as one of the best third-placed teams, depending on other results.
Burim Kukeli was suspended for Gianni De Biasi’s Albania, while Romania had Razvan Rat, Steliano Filip and Mihai Pintilii carrying knocks in Lyon.
Romania were unbeaten against Albania since a 1-0 result in May 1948, emerging with 10 wins and three draws.
In the opening minutes, Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha fumbled an Ovidiu Hoban snapshot and beat away Bogdan Stancu’s volley.
Albania wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead on the counter, Ermir Lenjani blasting over the bar seven yards from an open goal, and started to gain confidence on the ball.
Pescara midfielder Ledian Memushaj stung the goalkeeper’s gloves at the near post and Albania finally broke through just before half-time.
Ciprian Tatarusanu completely misjudged a Memushaj cross from the right and Armando Sadiku sent the looping header back across into the far top corner. That was Albania’s historic first ever goal in a major tournament.
Romania saw ex-Inter striker Denis Alibec stretchered off with what could be a serious knee injury after he caught his studs in the turf. Substitutions seemed to fire them up, but Tatarusanu again looked shaky on a Memushaj snapshot.
Frosinone defender Arlind Ajeti dived in with a decisive block in the box on Stancu, then substitute Florin Andone’s strike smacked against the crossbar.
Mergim Mavraj struck the side-netting on a corner and Albania clung on during five minutes of injury time for a great result.
Romania 0-1 Albania
Sadiku 43 (A)
Romania: Tatarusanu; Sapunaru, Grigore, Chiriches, Matel; Hoban, Prepelita (Sanmartean 46); Popa (Andone 68), Stanciu, Stancu; Alibec (Torje 56)
Albania: Berisha; Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli; Lila, Abrashi, Basha (Cana 83), Memushaj, Lenjani (Roshi 77); Sadiku (Balaj 59)
Ref: Kralovec (CZE)
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