Albania score stoppage time equaliser to hold careless Croatia

June 20, 2024 5:46 am

[Source: Reuters]

Albania snatched an equaliser in added time for a stunning 2-2 draw against Croatia in a thrilling European Championship contest on Wednesday, but the result left both countries with a tall order if they are to progress to the last-16.

Klaus Gjasula proved both hero and villain, bagging the added time leveller after having earlier netted an own goal that saw Croatia go 2-1 up in the Group B clash at the Volksparkstadion.

Both countries now have a single point after their opening two matches and are left effectively needing to win their last group games on Monday if they are to progress into the knockout stage.

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No team has made the next round with just two draws since the Euro finals expanded to 24 teams in 2016 — offering a place in the last-16 to the four best third-placed finishers.

Albania had taken an early lead but the Croats scored twice in the space of two minutes to revive their hopes in a match full of twists and turns and played to a backdrop of ear-splitting noise.

Andrej Kramaric grabbed a 74th minute equaliser and then followed an own goal from Gjasula 120 seconds later as an increasingly dominant Croatia, who lost 3-0 to Spain in their opening game, clawed their way back.

They had pounded away at the Albania goal in the second half after looking anxious and frustrated at halftime as their unfancied opponents went into the break ahead.

Qazim Laci’s 11th minute header put Albania in an early lead, as had been the case against Italy in their opening game when they scored after just 23 seconds.