Xhevahir Sukaj

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Xhevahir Sukaj
Personal information
Date of birth (1987-10-05) 5 October 1987 (age 27)
Place of birth Shkodër, Albania
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Sepahan
Number 14
Youth career
2002–2004 KS Vllaznia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2008 KS Vllaznia 75 (19)
2005–2006 Elbasani (loan) 10 (0)
2008–2009 Hacettepe 11 (0)
2009–2010 KS Vllaznia 14 (11)
2010 Orduspor 10 (2)
2010 Ismaily 3 (0)
2010–2011 NK Zagreb 5 (1)
2011–2012 KS Vllaznia 20 (15)
2012– Sepahan 59 (15)
National team
2005–2009 Albania U-21 15 (5)
2009– Albania 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 December 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 September 2011

Xhevahir Sukaj (born 5 October 1987 in Shkodër) is an Albanian football striker who plays for Sepahan in the Iran Pro League. The striker has played for six different clubs throughout his career so far in four countries and has also been capped at both U-21 and senior international levels.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Sukaj is a product of the Vllaznia academy and in 2004 he was promoted to the first team at the age of just 16. The 2004-05 season was his first in professional football and he made 15 league appearances scoring 1 goal along the way helping Vllaznia finish 4th in the table. In the Albanian Cup Sukaj managed to grab 2 goals in the 8-0 thrashing of Tërbuni Pukë in the 2nd round of the cup. Vllaznia reached the semi finals that season but were eventually knocked out by KF Tirana after a 3-2 aggregate loss.[1]

He was then loaned out to KF Elbasani for the 2005-06 season in order to gain some more first team experience, but Sukaj found it difficult to compete with the more experienced strikers at the club and only managed to feature in 4 league games without scoring, but he did win the Albanian Superliga that season with Elbasani. He reached the Albanian Cup semi finals again but did not score in any game during his loan.

Sukaj returned to Vllaznia in 2006 and immediately established himself in the first team and was instrumental in helping Vllaznia finish 3rd in the league with 8 goals in 31 games. He also scored 3 goals in the cup where Vllaznia were narrowly knocked out in the quarter finals through the away goal rule against Partizani Tirana.[2] Overall he scored 11 goals in the 2006-07 season.

During the 2007-08 season Vllaznia played in the Intertoto Cup where Sukaj made his first European appearance in the return leg of the 1st round against NK Zagreb, but after wasting chances he was substituted by the coach Mirel Josa for Vioresin Sinani in the 69th minute. Vllaznia were then drawn against Turkish club Trabzonspor in the next round where Vllaznia were beaten 10-0 on aggregate, with Sukaj only playing the first leg, as he was dropped to the bench by Josa for the return leg.[3] In the league Vllaznia had a difficult season finishing only 7th, despite Sukaj scoring 10 goals in 28 games. His side did however manage to win the Albanian Cup with the help of 3 goals by Sukaj, including the winning goal in the final against KF Tirana.[4] His goal tally reached 13 for the 2007-08 season and he won his first trophy with Vllaznia.

In the Europa League 2008-09 qualification Sukaj scored 2 away goals against Slovenian side NK Koper in the first half of the 2-1 win.[5] His goals put Vllaznia through to the second round as the 2nd leg finished goal less and his side were draw against Italian giants Napoli. Sukaj's double in Slovenia earned his team their first win the competition in their 7 games played and Sukaj gained the record of becming the first ever Vllaznia player to score more than one goal in a European game.[6] He played his last game for the club before moving abroad in the first leg of the next round against Napoli, where Vllaznia were outclassed and beaten 3-0 at home.[7]

Turkey[edit]

His departure from Vllaznia Shkodër was announced on 4 August 2008. The club who actually secured his signature was Gençlerbirliği S.K., who are the parent club of Hacettepe. He was loaned to Hacettepe, until the end of the season. After being unable to break into the first team he was loaned back to his homeland of Albania. He only started 2 games, but made other appearances off the bench.

Vllaznia

On his first match back he was able to get a hat trick in the match against KS Besa, FK Vllaznia won the match 4-1, in 14 other matches that season he scored another 7 goals.

Orduspor

After an uneventful spell in Turkish top flight, Orduspor bought him. Again after a bad spell he was loaned to Egyptian club Al Ismaily.

NK Zagreb[edit]

Sukaj signed a three year contract with Croatian side NK Zagreb on 15 July 2010, after it was widely believed that he would join Vllaznia once again.[8][9] He only made five league appearances and scored one goal before termingating his contract in January.[10]

Vllaznia[edit]

He signed a two year contract since June 2013, On the opening day of the 2011-12 Albanian Superliga Sukaj scored a hatrick against KF Laçi to secure a win for his side, despite Vllaznia trailing the game after 43 minutes. Sukaj's goals came in the 73rd, 80th and 92nd minute of the game.

Sepahan[edit]

He joined the Iranian champions Sepahan in 2012. In his first season with Sepahan he scored 2 goals. He scored his first goal in the 2012-13 season for Sepahan on 25 July 2012. He scored against Fajr Sepasi on 29 August. He scored again in the Iran Pro League on 14 September and got a yellow card. He scored again after 9 days against Persepolis. On 27 September he scored 4 goals in 4 matches against Malavan. After one month without a goal Sukaj scored against Naft Tehran, in Sepahan's 4-3 win. On 20 December Sukaj scored his first goal in the 2012–13 Hazfi Cup against Mes Rafsanjan. In his first match of 2013 Sukaj scored a brace. On 12 February 2013 Sukaj scored his 3rd goal in 2013 against Rah Ahan. He scored his first goal of March 2013 against Gahar, in Sepahan's 4-1 win. Four days later Sukaj scored against Saba. On 5 May Sukaj scored in the final of 2012–13 Hazfi Cup. He scored the first goal of the match, the match end 2-2 but Sepahan won 4-2 on penalties against Persepolis. He won his third trophy with Sepahan. In his first match in the 2013 AFC Champions League he scored a brace. He scored in Match-Day three against Al-Ahli in the third minute. He scored three goals in group stage of 2013 AFC Champions League.

Club career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Albania League Cup Continental Total
2004–05 Vllaznia Shkodër Albanian Superliga 15 1 0 0 15 1
2005–06 Elbasani 4 0 1 0 5 0
2006–07 Vllaznia Shkodër 31 8 0 0 31 8
2007–08 28 10 1 1 0 0 29 11
Turkey League Cup Continental Total
2008–09 Hacettepe Süper Lig 11 0 1 0 1 0 13 0
Albania League Cup Continental Total
2008–09 Vllaznia Shkodër Albanian Superliga 14 11 4 0 3 2 21 13
Turkey League Cup Continental Total
2009–10 Orduspor TFF First League 10 2 1 1 0 0 11 3
Egypt League Cup Continental Total
2009–10 Ismaily Egyptian Premier League 3 0 2 0 0 0 5 0
Croatia League Cup Continental Total
2010–11 Zagreb Prva HNL 5 1 0 0 0 0 5 1
Albania League Cup Continental Total
2010–11 Vllaznia Shkodër Albanian Superliga 11 6 4 4 0 0 15 10
2011–12 9 9 3 3 4 2 16 14
Iran League Hazfi Cup Asia Total
2011–12 Sepahan Iran Pro League 10 2 0 0 6 2 16 4
2012–13 32 11 5 2 7 3 44 16
2013–14 7 0 0 0 6 2 13 2
2014–15 8 1 0 0 0 0 8 1
Career total 192 62 21 11 25 11 238 84

International career[edit]

After enjoying a successful Under-21 career with Albania's U-21 team Sukaj has recently been called up the senior team. He was included in Arie Haan's 20 man list for a friendly against Azerbaijan in Baku 1 He is now a regular in the 23 man team for most matches and hopes to make a name for himself.

Honours[edit]

KF Elbasani
Vllaznia Shkodër
Sepahan

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giovanni Nappi (2005-09-01). "Albania Cup 2004/05". RSSSF. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  2. ^ Giovanni Nappi (2007-09-07). "Albania Cup 2006/07". RSSSF. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  3. ^ Marcel Haisma (2007-09-21). "UEFA Intertoto Cup 2007". RSSSF. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  4. ^ Giovanni Nappi (2008-09-04). "Albania Cup 2007/08". RSSSF. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  5. ^ "Koper 1-2 Vllaznia". UEFA.com. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  6. ^ "Sukaj, rekord unikal me Vllazninë" (in Albanian). Zemra Shqiptare. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Vllaznia 0-3 Napoli". UEFA.com. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  8. ^ "Sukaj firmos për 3 vjet me NK Zagreb" (in Albanian). Gazeta Start. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  9. ^ Gjergji Mima (2010-07-15). "Xhevahir Sukaj, kontratë 3 vjeçare me NK Zagreb" (in Albanian). Yll Press. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  10. ^ "NK Zagreb release Sukaj". HRV Soccer. 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  11. ^ Xhevahir Sukaj at National-Football-Teams.com
  12. ^ Xhevahir Sukaj at footballdatabase.eu
  13. ^ Xhevahir Sukaj at soccerway.com

Footnotes[edit]