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Klaus Gjasula goes from zero to hero as Albania snatch late draw against Croatia
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Albania followed up their defeat to Italy with a draw against Croatia (Sina Schuldt/AP)
Albania followed up their defeat to Italy with a draw against Croatia (Sina Schuldt/AP)

Klaus Gjasula struck five minutes into stoppage time to rescue a 2-2 draw for Albania against Croatia in Hamburg and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Euro 2024 knockout stages.

The 2022 World Cup semi-finalists looked to have secured a fine comeback win after Andrej Kramaric scored in the 74th minute to cancel out Qazim Laci’s early goal for Albania, then midfielder Gjasula inadvertently turned the ball past his own goalkeeper two minutes later.

But with time almost up, Albania attacked down the left and the ball was crossed to Gjasula who fired left footed into the corner to stun Croatia and set up a tense finale to Group B.

Albania took the lead after 10 minutes.

Jasir Asani collected the ball wide on the right midway inside the Croatia half and launched a reaching cross that was met with a glancing header by Laci, his effort squeezing through the hands of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and in at the near post.

The advantage was nearly doubled on the half-hour mark when Kristjan Asllani went through but was denied by a superb low stop from Livakovic, then on the stroke of half-time the goalkeeper was again called upon to keep out Rey Manaj’s close-range header.

Croatia began the second half with renewed urgency and should have levelled after 57 minutes when defender Josip Sutalo headed a near-post corner wide from two yards.

The equaliser finally arrived from Kramaric, the striker finding himself in space inside the penalty area from Ante Budimir’s pass and striking the ball through the legs of Elseid Hysaj.

And minutes later they led, Budimir’s cutback was hit low at goal by Luka Sucic, his blocked effort rebounding into the net off the unfortunate Gjasula.

Then when all looked lost, Gjasula redeemed himself in dramatic fashion, left free near the penalty spot to sweep the ball into the corner to save Albania.


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