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Albania U-21 wins the first friendly against Azerbaijan
The Albanian U-21 national team played today in Antalya, Turkey, the first friendly against Azerbaijan, winning with the result 2-1 and making a good appearance.
Coach Alban Bushi fielded this starting line-up: Simon Simoni, Agan Mjaki, Paulo Buxhelaj, Elmando Gjini, Mario Mitaj, Behar Ismaili, Arda Kurtulan, Medon Berisha, Eljon Toçi, Adrion Pajaziti, Steven Shpendi.
The first half was dominated by the red and black boys with an attack-oriented team with many good chances to score.
The first chance comes from the feet of striker Steven Shpendin with a diagonal shot that was neutralized by the goalkeeper. Then it's the turn of the captain Medon Berisha to attempt the goal with a shot from a distance, but the Azeri goalkeeper reacts well. In the 39th minute, another flagrant case is marked when Pajaziti hits hard with his right inside the area, but it is again the Azeri goalkeeper who does the miracle.
However, the goal is not delayed and in the 43rd minute, Kurtulan advances in the center to pass the ball to the left to Pajaziti and the latter gives a beautiful assist to Shpendi inside the area. This time the attacker does not forgive and sends the ball into the net, passing Albania U-21 to the advantage. The first half ends with the Rossoneri advantage.
The second half starts immediately with developments as Azerbaijan manages to equalize in the 46th minute with the goal scored by striker Dzhamal Dzhafarov. However, the red and black national team managed to get the situation under control and in the 51st minute they took the lead again with Pajazit. The midfielder receives an accurate pass from Kurtulan from the right and hits it accurately in the center of the area, shaking the net. Despite the advantage, the Reds and Blacks continue to manage the game well, appearing from time to time on the sides of the opposing goal. Coach Bushi makes several substitutions, throwing Nikqi's player Nerguti e Gjuzi on the playing field to freshen up the team.
Dijar Nikqi, who just arrived on the field of play, has a good chance, when he comes out alone with the goalkeeper and after avoiding it, he hits the goal, but the Azeri defense removes the danger. Then there is another newcomer, Henrik Nerguti, who tries an acrobatic shot after the corner, but again the goalkeeper blocks the attempt.
The following minutes are balanced with both teams taking risks and having several chances to score, but until the end the result does not change and Albania U-21 manages to win with the result 2-1 the first friendly after a good test against an opponent strong.
So, the U-21 national team will continue preparations in Antalya for the second friendly on the schedule against Poland, which will be played on March 27.