Slovakia won the third match in a row in the qualifying round of Group C after defeating Belarus 3:1 (0:0) on October 12 in Borisov Arena.
Team captain Marek Hamšík scored two goals, with the third coming from Stanislav Šesták in added time, letting the Slovak national team keep their unbeateen perfect start in the qualification to the European Championship in France 2016.
Belarus remain on one point and have lost both home qualifiers and their boss Georgi Kondratiev resigned after the defeat.
It was a rather different match for players and even for fans to watch than the match last Thursday against Spain in Žilina. The Belarus team had gained only 1 point for a draw against Luxembourg before this match so that sword of Damocles was poised over their heads.
The match was even after the first half, both teams waiting for their chances in a tactical battle. The game changed in 65th minute when Hamšík scored his first goal and the rest of the team was ready to keep the score. But Belarus Timofei Kalachev appeared to have rescued a draw for Belarus in the 79th minute.
Hamšík thumped in his second with six minutes remaining and Šesták’s third goal meant an unbelievable nine points in three matches.
As the Slovak coach Ján Kozák said “Belarus were waiting for our mistakes, but we tried not to make any. We played very attentively in defence. In the second half, we scored a beautiful goal. It’s great that we managed to score twice and win the match.“
Slovaks are the leaders of Group C followed by Spain and Ukraine and their last match this year is scheduled on November 15, 2014 at the National Arena Filip II Macedonian, Skopje in Macedonia.
By Albert Kulla