The Slovenia Times

Slovenia score important win over Northern Ireland in Euro qualifiers

Andraž Šporar scored two goals against Northern Ireland in the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

The Slovenian football team defeated Northern Ireland 4:2 for its third win in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying. Slovenia are now third in Group H ahead of the encounter with the minnows San Marino on the road in Serravalle.

Slovenia opened the match in Stožice Stadium in front of some 12,600 spectators very well, with Andraž Šporar scoring in the 3rd minute as he found himself face-to-face with North Ireland's goalie Bailey Peacock-Farrell and easily scored.

The guests responded quickly, as Isaac Price put in a rebound after Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak's stellar save from the goal line to even the score at 1:1 in the 7th minute.

It took Slovenia only ten minutes to answer, as Petar Stojanović made his way into the box from the right side after a long pass to bring a 2:1 lead to Slovenia, with some help from North Ireland's defender Jonny Evans, who deflected the ball past the goalkeeper.

In the 42nd minute it was Leipzig forward Benjamin Šeško's turn to take Slovenia further up, as he managed to score from the edge of the box after a quick turnaround.

Slovenia were close to the fourth goal in the 51st minute, hitting the bar, after which Northern Ireland responded with a goal of their own, with Jonny Evans scoring from some 13 metres after a sloppy kick-out by Slovenian defender Žan Karničnik.

But the hosts quickly created a two-goal cushion again in the 56th minute through the Šeško-Šporar connection, with the former finding the Panathinaikos striker in the box. Šporar beat the goalkeeper and put the ball into an empty net for the final score of 4:2.

The win propelled Slovenia to the third place in Group H standings, which are topped by Finland (12 points) and Denmark (10 points).

Head coach Matjaž Kek was happy with the level of play displayed by his players. "I think that [the win] was well deserved," he said, while noting that some reactions on defence should have been better. "But we are excellent on offence, which needs to be utilised."

Slovenia will now look to advance further in the standings as they travel to Serravalle to play San Marino, who are firmly at the bottom of the group with no points and a 0:17 goal differential, on 10 September.


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