World Cup qualifier: Iceland close in on play-offs after 2-1 win over Albania
Last Updated: September 10, 2013 10:46pm
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (centre): The Ajax striker settled the match
Iceland took a significant step towards their first-ever major tournament following a 2-1 win over Albania in Reykjavik.
Valdet Rama fired the visitors ahead on nine minutes but Iceland's recovery took just four minutes to begin.
Birkir Bjarnason stabbed in a low cross at the back post four minutes later, fighting off Eidur Gudjohnsen to do so, before another close-range finish from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson just after half-time settled the match.
Victory moves Iceland into second place in Group E, five points behind leaders Switzerland but, more importantly, one point clear of nearest rivals Slovenia and two better off than Norway with two games to play.
Iceland will meet Cyprus at home next month before rounding out their campaign with a crucial away tie at Norway on October 15.
The Iceland fans had to withstand an early scare, however, when Rama netted from 20 yards shortly after Gylfi Sigurdsson had hit the post from long range.
Iceland's response was swift, and after good build-up play down the right pulled the away defence out of position, it was left to Bjarnason and Gudjohnsen to squabble over who would turn in the equaliser.
The home side continued to press and were worth their win when Birkir Mar Saevarsson's low cross from the right was steered in by Sigthorsson.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 10th Sep - Group F
Russia3 - 1Israel
Luxembourg3 - 2N Ireland
Tue 10th Sep - Group G
Lithuania2 - 0Liechtenstein
Slovakia1 - 2Bosnia
Greece1 - 0Latvia
Tue 10th Sep - Group B
Armenia0 - 1Denmark
Malta1 - 2Bulgaria
Italy2 - 1Czech Rep
Tue 10th Sep - Group C
Kazakhstan0 - 1Sweden
Austria1 - 0Rep Ireland
Faroe Islands0 - 3Germany
Tue 10th Sep - Group E
Norway0 - 2Switzerland
Cyprus0 - 2Slovenia
Iceland2 - 1Albania
Tue 10th Sep - Group I
Georgia0 - 1Finland
Belarus2 - 4France
Tue 10th Sep - Group D
Romania0 - 2Turkey
Andorra0 - 2Netherlands
Hungary5 - 1Estonia
Tue 10th Sep - Group A
Macedonia1 - 2Scotland
Wales0 - 3Serbia
Tue 10th Sep - Group H
San Marino1 - 5Poland
Ukraine0 - 0England
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I