Fortune favouring determined Vllaznia
nga AlbaniaSoccer   E diel, 02 Gusht 2009 01:20   Shtyp

KS Vllaznia used up a few of their nine lives as they earned a 2-1 win at Sligo Rovers FC last week, but are determined to ride their luck and book a massive second qualifying round tie against SK Rapid Wien.

Lucky breaks
The Albanian side – whose name means Brotherhood – came away from The Showgrounds with a crucial away victory last Thursday as the Irish side were thrice denied by the woodwork. Dritan Smajlaj broke the deadlock before the unfortunate Alan Keane registered an own goal and, seven minutes later, smacked a penalty against the crossbar. Sligo's Rafael Cretaro found the mark with a second spot-kick after Vllaznia goalkeeper Armir Grimaj was dismissed four minutes from time, but Hasan Lika's side clung on.

'Not over yet'
With the scene shifting to the Loro Boriçi Stadium in Vllaznia's home city, Shkoder, Lika is not getting complacent. "It's not over yet," he said. "We won the first match and have the advantage of playing at home, but they are a dangerous team." That caution is well advised. Vllaznia endured plenty of disappointment in 2009, seeing their Albanian Cup defence end against KF Tirana in the semi-finals and missing out on the title on the last day of the season to the same opponents.

Rapid response
Should Vllaznia prevail they know they will not be out of the woods, with Rapid awaiting the winner of the tie in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. The Austrian side's coach Peter Pacult was among the favourites to take over as coach of the Albanian national team following the departure of Dutchman Arie Haan before Josip Kuže was installed. The 49-year-old's attack-minded ethos was a big attraction though – his side scored 89 goals in 36 Austrian Bundesliga games last season. "They are a goalscoring machine," said Vllaznia president Valter Fushaj. With his side having won their opening UEFA club competition ties for three successive seasons and in line to do so a fourth time in 2009/10, he may be about to examine that machinery close up.

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