Chris Gunter became Wales’ most-capped player in Elbasan on Tuesday but Ryan Giggs’ side could not mark the occasion with victory as they were beaten 1-0 by Albania.Gunter made his international bow in 2007 and the goalless friendly saw him go past Neville Southall with 93 caps, a tally the 29-year-old could significantly add to before the end of his career.A celebratory night in Cardiff might have a better way for the full-back to separate given there was very little to cheer for those fans who had made the journey. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Sam Vokes missed two glorious chances for Wales either side of the break and they proved costly as Bekim Balaj secured victory for Albania with a 58th-minute penalty.FULL-TIME | 1-0 #ALBWALA disappointing result in Elbasan as Albania claim their first win over Wales. #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/9B0Uh4j6Xy— Wales (@Cymru) November 20, 2018Gunter’s landmark night saw Wales make a positive start but finding a way through the Albanian defence proved harder than Scotland had found three days earlier.Lively attacking duo David Brooks and Harry Wilson looked the most likely to threaten Etrit Berisha’s goal, with the latter wasting Wales’ best opportunity with a long-range free kick that drifted wide.Taulant Xhaka was lucky to stay on the pitch just before the break as he appeared to move his head towards Brooks’, but the officials only showed him a yellow card.A flowing move – started by Wilson – eventually saw Joe Allen play in Vokes, but his low shot was easily saved by the alert Berisha.Vokes failed again just after the restart as he proved unable to turn in Tom Lockyer’s header from a yard out, the Burnley striker somehow finding the hands of the goalkeeper.Despite dominating, Wales found themselves behind just before the hour when Wilson was adjudged to have pulled back Xhaka in the penalty area. Balaj made no mistake from 12 yards.Even the introduction of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale could not turn Wales’ fortunes around as Giggs’s men ended 2018 with back-to-back defeats. What does it mean? Miserable end to Giggs’ first yearSince succeeding Chris Coleman in January, Giggs has overseen only three wins from nine matches, losing four of the last five. Added to that, Wales also failed to earn promotion from the Nations League as they finished second in their group with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.Wasteful Vokes costs WalesVokes’ poor form in front of goal for Wales continued after he failed to add to the three strikes he has to his name this year. Twice he should have beaten Berisha but unerringly found the keeper.Xhaka’s a lucky boyIt may have been a friendly but Xhaka was fortunate not to see red after clashing with Brooks, the midfielder pulling his rivals leg before appearing to headbutt the Bournemouth man.Key Opta Facts- Albania recorded their first ever win against Wales, having lost one and drawn one of their two previous meetings.- Wales have won just one of their last 12 friendly matches (D3 L8), beating China 6-0 in March.- Albania scored with their first shot on target of the match, a 58th minute penalty by Bekim Balaj.What’s nextWith the next international break in March, both managers will have time to assess their options ahead of the European Championship qualifiers. read more
A 20-year-old Lionel Messi fan in Kolkata breathed his last on Tuesday evening while trying to emulate some of his moves.The upcoming football player Sagar Das was playing a local football match at Belgharia’s Deshapriyanagar Byamagar when the unfortunate incident happened.Sagar while trying to play the ball and emulate a Messi move, lost his balance and fell and the ball hit his chest. He got unconscious and even though his fellow players attempted to help, it did not work.He was then taken to Kamarhati Sagar Dutta Medical College Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEAccording to report in Latestly, Sagar’s cousin Samar Koyal described him as an ardent fan of Messi and said he was watching each and every match of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018.”He watched each and every match till late at night during this World Cup. He was a die-hard fan of Messi. He was so obsessed with the World Cup that he forgot studies. During Tuesday’s match between two local teams, he was trying to perform some moves and passes imitating Messi’s style,” Koyal said.On the other hand, Pranab Bhattacharya, a member of the club Sagar used to represent, said that the boy was a sriker and described how he was dealt the fatal injury.”He played as a striker. During the match, he was trying to imitate moves performed by Messi and other players at the ongoing World Cup. When he tried to imitate Messi’s style while trying to convert a pass from a team member into a goal, he lost balance and fell. The ball hit him hard on the chest. Under the impact of the hit, he lost consciousness,” Bhattacharya told Times of India.advertisementAlso read – World Cup fans explore underground Josef Stalin’s bunker of Nazi eraSagar’s neighbour Pritam Dey was in absolute shock. He described Sagar as a simple and lovable boy.”Das was awell-known in the locality for his simplicity. He was loved by everybody as a good footballer. We can’t still believe he is not more.”An official of the local club said, “We are shocked. We’ve lost a rising footballer.”As for Messi, he has returned to Barcelona after Argentina’s exit from the World Cup in the Round of 16.Also read – World Cup 2018: How visiting fans are handling language barriersThroughout the four matches Argentina played in Russia, Messi was able to score only one goal and that came in La Albiceleste’s group stage victory against Nigeria.In the Round of 16 against France, Argentina were unable to cope up with the speed of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and on the whole, Argentine defence was ripped apart by the attack of France.Messi has never won the World Cup. He steered Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014 and they have made it to two Copa America finals.