Lens (France) (AFP) – Fabien Schaer’s powerful header gave Switzerland a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Albania on the second day of the European Championship finals on Saturday.
The Group A match, in the spotlight with brothers Granit and Taulant Xhaka playing for opposing sides, was decided by the sending off of Albania captain Lorik Cana.
The Albanian underdogs were continually scrambling to get back into the game while Switzerland, who now lead the group with France, never took firm control.
After just five minutes, Hoffenheim centre back Schaer rose above the Albanian defence to head in from a corner by Xherdan Shaqiri.
The 1.86 metre (6ft 2in) defender makes a habit of scoring for the national side, with five goals in 19 appearances now.
He was also a rock in defence and was booked in the 12th minute for chopping down Emir Lenjani.
Albania had their chances. Taulant Xhaka, the elder of the Kosovo-origin brothers, was put clear in the 26th minute but shot well over the top.
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had a busy time dishing out six yellow cards and a red.
He showed a first yellow card to Cana in the 13th minute for sliding in on Haris Seferovic.
Former Marseille player Cana was again in trouble in the 36th minute.
Chasing Seferovic, Cana fell and headed the ball away on the edge of the penalty area and when it bounced flicked it away with his hands.
His protests had no effect. Carballo produced a second yellow and a red.
Albania had several desperate moments, Ergys Kace nearly ripped the shorts off Valon Behrami and then tripped him. That meant another yellow.
Switzerland, who next play Romania on Wednesday, also had their chances but desperate defence and poor finishing meant there were no more goals.
Seferovic was put clear through but his shot went off keeper Berisha. The Swiss player kicked post in frustration and anger that summed up the match.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family