Albania 1-1 Denmark: Danes Retain Top Spot Despite Disappointing Draw

Denmark were held to a 1-1 draw by Albania in Tirana in Group 1 but still retain sole possession of the pole position in the group.....
Albania 1-1 Denmark Lineups/Stats
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Group 1 leaders Denmark could manage only a 1-1 draw with minnows Albania in Tirana. Nicklas Bendtner gave the visitors the lead in the 40th minute but Erjon Bogdani restored parity five minutes into the second half.

Denmark started the match on pole position in the group and were expected to collect all three points. The Albanians had already been knocked out of the 2010 World Cup finals qualifying race and had nothing except pride to play for.

But the Danes found it tough in the first-half and went ahead only in the 40th minute when Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner headed over Albanian custodian Samir Ujkani. The goal was the result of a defensive lapse as there was a misunderstanding in the hosts' backline because of a long ball from Denmark.

Albania, though, didn't surrender after conceding and equalized five minutes into the second half. Armend Dallku whipped in a cross and Hamdi Salihi guided it towards lurking striker Erjon Bogdani, who scored from close range. It was his 12th international goal.

The visitors, though, kept on chasing for the winner as Jesper Grønkjær and Jon Dahl Tomasson tested the Albanian backline but couldn't breach it. The hosts held on for an unlikely draw but the one point gained does nothing productive for them.

On the other hand, Denmark still maintain top spot in Group 1 and have now collected 18 points from eight matches, three more than second-placed Sweden.

Denmark take on Sweden on October 10 and a victory in that match would secure them qualification for next year's gala event.

Subhankar Mondal, Goal.com