BUCHAREST, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Nicolae Dica and Daniel
Niculae scored twice as Romania capped a fine Euro 2008
qualifying campaign by thrashing Albania 6-1 to seal top spot in
Group G on Wednesday.
Steaua Bucharest forward Dica opened the scoring after 21
minutes to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at the break and converted
a penalty in the second half.
Niculae scored his double in just two minutes midway through
the second half.
The other goals came from Gabriel Tamas, who scored with a
30-metre free kick eight minutes after the break, and from
Ciprian Marica who converted another penalty in the second half.
Albania finished with nine men after defender Debatik Curri
was sent off on the hour and fellow centre back Nevil Dede
followed 11 minutes later.
Substitute Edmond Kapllani notched Albania's only goal in
between Niculae's quick-fire double.
Romania finished with 29 points from 12 matches and the
team's good run in the qualifiers gave coach Victor Piturca hope
they might follow Greece as European champions.
'I never said that Romania will win the championship but we
have the right to dream about it after such a good campaign,'
Piturca told reporters.
Albania had chances to score but Dinamo Bucharest goalkeeper
Bogdan Lobont fulfilled his task.
Striker Ervin Skela came close to equalising immediately
after Romania's opener when he hit the crossbar with a powerful
shot from the edge of the area.
Lobont denied Klodian Duro a goal from a counter-attack at
the end of the first half and saved his team again after the
interval when he blocked Erjon Bogdani's shot from the area.
However, Romania gradually raised the pressure, taking
advantage of Albania's two red cards and the home side did not
feel the absence of captain Cristian Chivu and prolific striker
Adrian Mutu who were sidelined by injuries.
It was Romania's last match in the 55-year-old, 52,000-seat
National stadium, the largest in the country, which is to be
destroyed to make room to a modern arena in the next two years.