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Reiter goal ensures Slovakia success

Saturday, 26 March 2005

By Margus Luik at A. Le Coq Arena

[1] Slovakia needed to come from behind to beat hosts Estonia in their FIFA World Cup qualifier in Tallinn.

Reiter the hero

[2] Slovakia's hero was half-time substitute Luboš Reiter, who hit the winner in the 66th minute. Just eight minutes earlier Andres Oper had put Estonia ahead only to see Marek Mintál equalise almost immediately. Slovakia move level with Portugal - who they play on Wednesday - at the top of Group 3 with 13 points, trailing only on goal difference, while Estonia remain on seven points from six games ahead of their game with Russia.

Slovakia pressure

[3] Slovakia made the better start and on six minutes Szilard Németh's quick move and sharp shooting forced a great one-handed save from Estonia goalkeeper Artur Kotenko, who was making his second World Cup start in place of the injured Mart Poom. However, the hosts remained solid in defence and started to play themselves into the game.

Goalkeepers in action

[4] In the 25th minute, following good work from Kristen Viikmäe, right-winger Sergei Terehhov shot straight at Kamil Čontofalský in the Slovakia goal. Four minutes later, an effort from Viikmäe was saved again by Čontofalský. Ten minutes before the break, the visitors had their second chance of the first half, when Karol Kisel's pass was flicked on by Bundesliga hotshot Mintál, Kotenko again the saviour for Estonia as he saved the ball at Németh's feet.

More chances for Estonia

[5] After the break Estonia adopted a more aggressive attitude and created two excellent chances inside 90 seconds. First Joel Lindpere and Dmitri Kruglov set up Oper, who missed with his head. Then Čontofalský was forced into a good save from Viikmäe after the Fredrikstad FK striker had beaten defender Jozef Valachovič in the penalty area.

Two goals in one minute

[6] The Estonia breakthrough came on 58 minutes. Excellent one-touch passing between Terehhov and Oper saw the FC Torpedo Moskva striker go past Slovakia defender Stanislav Varga and fire the ball superbly past Čontofalský. However, the visitors equalised straight away, Mintál sending a low and accurate shot past Kotenko from 14 metres.

Substitute Reiter strikes

[7] Seven minutes later, Slovakia took the lead. After a scramble in the Estonia penalty area, Kotenko, under pressure, failed to hold the ball and half-time substitute Reiter took advantage by heading into the empty net. The rest of the game saw few chances created. Most notably, Estonia captain Martin Reim, collecting his 139th cap, saw a 20-metre effort saved by Čontofalský.

Estonia's Kristen Viikmäe with Slovakia's Stanislav Varga