Thursday 22 March 2018

Skrtel blow for Slovakia after shock defeat

Armenia 3 Slovakia 1

Two second-half goals helped Armenia secure a surprise victory over Slovakia, who could be without two key players when they face Ireland on Tuesday.

Yura Movsisyan, Gevorg Gazaryan and Henrik Mkhitaryan each scored in a game that Armenia dominated and one that underlined how well Ireland did to secure a 1-0 victory in Yerevan in their opening group game.

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel also received his second yellow card of the campaign which rules him out of Tuesday's tie, while Moroslav Stoch was stretchered off with an injury.

Movsisyan opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, but Vladimir Weiss equalised 14 minutes later.

Gazaryan restored the lead early in the second half and Mkhitaryan made it 3-1 in the final minute of the match.

Movsisyan's goal came after he connected with Marcos Pizzelli's long pass and surged through to score past Jan Mucha with a low shot.

Weiss then broke through past two defenders and shot past Roman Berezovsky to equalise as Slovakia temporarily seized the initiative. But the home side wasted several more opportunities before the interval.

Gazaryan restored the hosts' lead by scoring into the empty net after Mucha and Skrtel failed to control the ball following a cross into the box from the right.

Two minutes later, Movsisyan again forced Mucha to a save with a low drive from outside the box.

Berezovsky then blocked Kornel Salata's header from a corner in the 65th minute.

Weiss and Salata came close to equalising several more times before Gazaryan set up the third goal with a pass from the right, with Mkhitaryan moving into the centre and scoring with a long-range shot.

"The loss is my fault," said Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss -- the father of the goalscorer. "The result is to Ireland's and Russia's favour."

Irish Independent

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