PRAGUE - Slovakia upset Czech Republic 2-1 away in a Group Three qualifier on Wednesday to increase their chances of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since the breakup of former Czechoslovakia in 1993. The Slovaks, who beat their neighbours for the first time since 1997, have 12 points from five matches, one point less than leaders Northern Ireland. Slovakia opened the scoring in the 24th minute when striker Filip Holosko made a square pass in front of goal to midfielder Stanislav Sestak, who beat keeper Petr Cech with a close low shot. The Czechs struck back with a stroke of luck six minutes later when Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel headed an own goal from a shot by Czech defender Marek Jankulovski following a corner. "I think it was not a very good game from both sides. There was a lot of fighting but there were not many scoring chances," Czech striker Milan Baros said. "We made a mistake ... and lost." The Czechs put their rivals under pressure mid-way through the second half with midfielder David Jarolim hitting the bar in the 68th minute. But they paid for their missed chances when the visitors scored again in a counter-attack seven minutes from time with striker Erik Jendrisek beating Cech after the keeper failed to hold his first shot.
1 April 2009
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