Football: Albania stun Portugal 1-0 in Euro 2016 qualifier

Albania's forward Bekim Balaj (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier football match Portugal vs Albania at the Municipal Stadium in Aveiro on Sept 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Albania's forward Bekim Balaj (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier football match Portugal vs Albania at the Municipal Stadium in Aveiro on Sept 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Albania pulled off a major shock by downing Portugal and minnows Gibraltar were demolished by Poland in the opening salvoes of Euro 2016 qualifying on Sunday, Sept 7, 2014.

Portugal, first round casualties at the World Cup, were sorely missing their skipper Cristiano Ronaldo but despite the Real Madrid star's absence the 1-0 loss to a team ranked 71st in the world was a major embarrassment for Paulo Bento's side.

Albania, who have failed to qualify for a European Championships in half a century, humbled the mighty Portuguese in their own back yard.

Slavia Prague forward Bekim Balaj struck the killer blow shortly after the restart, with the home side walking off the pitch in Aveiro at the final whistle to boos from their supporters.

"It's a really bad result," conceded Portugal striker Nani.

"We've started qualifying badly, now we have to pick ourselves up. We have to improve."

Down on Portugal's Algarve coast, minnows Gibraltar were given a lesson on their introduction to competitive internationals as a Uefa member by Poland as Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scored four times in a 7-0 romp.