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Euro 2016: Switzerland squeeze past 10-man Albania 1-0

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Switzerland overcame debutants Albania 1-0 to get off to a winning start in Group A of the European Championships in Lens on Saturday.

Switzerland made a bright start and scored just five minutes into the contest as defender Fabian Schär headed home Xherdan Shaqiri's corner after some poor keeping from Etrit Berisha, who apart from that one early error had an outstanding game.

The margin of victory looked set to be greater when Lorik Cana received a second yellow card nine minutes before half-time, but Albania dug in deep and by the final whistle it was the Swiss who were hanging on.

Albania will look back on several missed chances to cap their debut in style, most notably for Armando Sadiku. He squandered a golden opportunity before Cana's dismissal when a trademark Elseid Hysaj long ball sent him one-on-one with Swiss keeper Yann Sommer.

The keeper repeated the feat in the closing stages as Albania, spirited forward by their noisy fans, threw everything at Switzerland. Then, with three minutes left, came the best chance of all but Shkelzen Gashi, with time and space, could not find a way past Sommer, who also had a fantastic game.

Switzerland got the win they so desired and join hosts France on 3 points in Group A. The Swiss have yet to make it through the group stage in three appearances, but will fancy their chances of doing so when they take on Romania in their next game.

The game will go down in the history books as two brothers lined up against each other for the first time in the history of the European Champions as Arsenal's summer signing Granit Xhaka of Switzerland squared off against his elder brother Taulant, who opted to represent Albania instead.

Granit had an impressive game, getting on the ball a lot, and showing his defensive discipline, by not getting sucked too far forward. The 23 year old midfielder completed more passes than anyone else on the pitch, whilst also creating the most goal scoring opportunities for his side.

Final Score: Switzerland 1-0 Albania (Schar 5')