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Albania fire Panucci after one Euro qualifier

Tirana (AFP) – Albania have sacked national team football coach Christian Panucci after losing their opening Euro 2020 qualifier 2-0 to Turkey, the local football federation said on Saturday.

The 45-year-old Italian, who made his name as a defender with Roma, Monaco and Real Madrid, had been in his job for 15 games since July 2017, winning only four.

“We want to thank Panucci for the job that he did and we wish him all the best for his career,” the national federation said on their website adding that two former Albanian players would take over.

“Ervin Bulku and Sulejman Mema will be in charge of the team for the second qualifier against Andorra,” the statement said.

Panucci dropped 24-year-old Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha from the squad for Albania’s two games after he missed a flight due to a traffic jam, causing raised eyebrows among Albanian fans and pundits.

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