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Albania U21 0-1 Scotland U21

Chris Maguire nets from the penalty spot
Maguire converted the winning penalty for Scotland

A late penalty from Chris Maguire got Scotland off to a great start in their bid to reach the Under-21 2011 European Championship finals.

Albania, who visit Scotland on Wednesday, did most of the pressing but the young Scots were well organised.

Aberdeen forward Maguire, who started on the bench, held his nerve to roll in the vital spot-kick on 85 minutes.

Maguire had won the penalty after his promising surge had been brought to a crude halt by the goalkeeper.

Scotland are also up against Azerbaijan, Austria and Belarus in qualifying Group 10.

"There were no failures for us," manager Billy Stark told BBC Scotland.

"David Goodwillie and Jamie Murphy were full of running and led the line well, while Chris Maguire came on and finished the job off.

"It was a tough fixture to start the campaign and we had to work really hard, although we missed a few chances.

"Albania were a strong team and will cause problems for our other rivals."

The home side went close after just two minutes when Emilian Vila's shot looped off star man Jahmir Hyka and Alan Martin had to save at his post.

The Leeds United keeper was tested again a minute later as Enco Malindi let fly and Martin later brilliantly tipped over Ditmar Bicaj's header.

Scotland battled back into the game as Murphy's cross was headed down by Barry Bannon and keeper Shpetim Mocka had to save at the feet of Goodwillie.

Hyka looked to have opened the scoring when he flicked the ball over Martin but it ended up on the top of the net.

Mocka made a good block from Goodwillie and the home keeper did well to save a header from Murphy before the unmarked Andrew Shinnie headed Bannon's free-kick wide.

Goodwillie then missed a brilliant chance before half-time when he headed Bannon's centre wide from six yards.

Mocka saved from Shinnie after the break and Goodwillie pulled his shot wide from a promising position, while Paul Hanlon saw his powerful header from Maguire's corner brilliantly saved.

With time running out, Maguire turned the game after taking a Paul Caddis pass around the keeper, forcing him to make a lunge that brought the forward to ground.

The Aberdeen man dusted himself off to fire low past Mocka from the spot.


Albania U21 : Mocka, Arbri, Malotaj, Biqaj, Veliu, Lilaj, Karabeci, Vila, Malindi, Januzi, Hyka. Subs: Hoxha, Filipi, Cela, Thana, Hyshmeri, Troqaj, Shehaj.

Scotland U21 : Martin, Hanlon, Caddis, Scobbie, Mitchell, Arfield, Shinnie, McDonald, Murphy, Goodwillie, Bannan. Subs: Gallacher, Fleck, McGinn, Maguire, Loy, Gray, McAusland.



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