Slovakia beat Russia 1-0 here Tuesday to make it two wins from their first two Euro 2012 qualifiers to leave them with an early stranglehold on Group B.
Fenerbahce midfielder Miroslav Stoch was the man of the match, scoring the decisive goal in the 27th minute.
Slovakia’s manager Vladimir Weiss said: “I’m very pleased with the result as we were playing against one of Europe’s best teams tonight.
“We made the very best choice of tactics as playing attacking style football against Russia could be fatal.
“I’m proud of my players, thay gave all they had for this win.”
Russia started in lively style, serving up four corners in the opening 10 minutes to keep Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha on his toes.
But it was to no avail as the Slovaks defended stoutly, while Mucha was in command of his net stopping and deflecting everything coming his way.
Slovakia went into the lead against the run of play, when Stoch fired the ball into the top right-handed corner with a powerful shot from the edge of the box after a mix-up in the Russian defence.
Dick Advocaat’s side tried in vain for an equaliser, their efforts not helped by inaccuracy in front of Slovakia’s net.
Stuttgart striker Pavel Pogrebnyak missed a clear chance to level with a minute remaining before the break but his 10-metre shot hit the outer side of the net.
Slovakia created a series of threats after the restart but failed to extend their lead.
In the 50th minute Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov sent the ball into the net but Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere ruled the effort offside.
Five minutes later Arsenal striker Andrei Arshavin also had a chance to pull the scores level but his unopposed seven-metre shot went inches wide.
Russia, 2-0 winners over Andorra last Friday in their opener, upped the tempo keeping the Slovaks under constant pressure as the clock ticked down but lacked the killer touch.
Slovakia, who beat Macedonia in a hardfought 1-0 home win in their opener, top Group B with six points, from Russia on three with Ireland, also on three, in action against Andorra in Dublin later Tuesday.
Russia and Slovakia are no strangers as they were drawn together in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Their two games ended deadlocked at 1-1 in Moscow and 0-0 at Bratislava.
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