Azerbaijan and Kosovo celebrate rare wins


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Azerbaijan and Kosovo celebrate rare wins

by Steve Clare

There was a great night of international action across Europe with some shocks.

Azerbaijan and Kosovo achieved great results in Thursday’s international matches.

Kosovo beat Malta 3-1 with two goals from Benjamin Kololli  in the 30th minute and the 81st minute, and another from Vedat Muriqi between the two.

Malta’s counter was scored by central defender Andrei Agius who plays his football for Hibernians in Malta. Kololli stars in the Swiss league for Zurich and  Muriqi for Turkish club Çaykur Rizespor.

Referee Tamás Bognar sent off Malta’s Mifsud in the 70th minute.

That was a home win but the brave Azerbaijanis did it on foreign soil. Faroe Islands capital Torshavn must seem like a world away from the warm climate of Azerbaijan but the visitors managed a memorable 3-0 win in the Faroe islands.

Like Kosovo, one player scored twice either side of a second goal added by a colleague, Almeida de Oliveira  scored twice in the 28th minute and via the penalty spot in the 86th minute. Nazarov  scored in the 67th.

Israel are not minnows in the truest sense of the word.  But their recent results have been poor. They lost 1-0 in Albania in their first game in the UEFA Nations League. They played a Scotland side who had comfortably beaten Albania in Glasgow.

However home advantage proved to be the key again in Haifa. Scotland took an early lead through a Charlie Mulgrew penalty. However they managed to contribute an own goal to give Israel the win Kieran Tierney being the unfortunate scorer.

Before that, John Souttar was sent off and Dor Peretz equalised for an Israeli side who now join Scotland and Albania on three points in Group C1.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish was weirdly defensive about his side’s abject display:

“It’s doom and gloom, we lost, we know the consequence of losing, you have to suffer a wee bit for it,” McLeish told the BBC and other local media.

“We’re obviously going to get a bit of stick about this and it’s up to us to bounce back. That’s what normally I would expect from Scottish people.”

In other matches, Portugal won 3-2 in Poland whereas Russia and Sweden drew 0-0.

Romania and Serbia both recorded impressive away wins not far from home. The Romanians traveled to the Baltic to play Lithuania, and recorded a 2-1 win.

Serbia played even closer to home, traveling to next door Montenegro. Fullham’s bulldozer striker Aleksander Mitrovic scored both goals.

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