Estonia beats Slovenia 2-1 in Euro 2012 qualifier
Konstantin Vasiljev and Ats Purje scored to give Estonia a 2-1 victory over Slovenia in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Group C on Friday.
Vasiljev put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 29th minute after a foul by Slovenia's goalkeeper Samir Handanovic that earned him a yellow card. Tim Matavz equalized in the 76th minute, but Purje's strike in the 81st sealed the points for Estonia.
Slovenia was disorganized and slow throughout the first half, with its attacks easily checked by Estonia's strong defense, paving the way for a series of counterattacks.
Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek said afterward that ''in the first half, we were asleep.''
His side was more aggressive after the break, with Matavz trying his luck with a header in 48th minute, followed by a shot from Valter Birsa, before another effort by Matavz was blocked by Estonia keeper Sergei Pareiko in the 50th.
Slovenia was rewarded for its pressure when Matavz finally equalized from close range in the 76th minute - only for Estonia to hit back minutes later when Purje restored its lead.
The result puts fourth-place Estonia on 10 points, a point behind Slovenia and Serbia in the race for second place in the group behind runaway leader Italy.
''It's a heavy defeat. But it's life,'' Kek said, as he braced for his team's daunting fixture on Tuesday. ''Now we have to prepare for the next match against Italy in Florence.''
Matavz said ''it's not over yet. This will be a huge effort for our team but we have nothing to lose.''
Slovenia: Samir Handanovic, Miso Brecko, Branko Ilic, Bostjan Cesar, Bojan Jokic, Valter Birsa, Robert Koren, Aleksandar Radosavljevic (Dare Vric, 56), Josip Ilicic (Nejc Pecnik, 82), Tim Matavz, Milivoje Novakovic (Zlatan Ljubijankic, 56).
Estonija: Sergei Pareiko, Taavi Rahn, Raio Piiroja, Dmitri Kruglov (Ats Purje, 69), Aleksandr Dmitrijev, Sergei Zenjov (Jarmo Ahjupera, 61), Martin Vunk, Konstantin Vassiljev, Ragnar Klavan, Enar Jaager, Taijo Teniste.