The Armenian camp was brimming with confidence but determined not to get carried away after a 3-1 win against Slovakia on Friday.
Second-half goals from Gevorg Ghazaryan and Henrik Mkhitaryan assured the hosts of a first victory in UEFA EURO 2012 Group B qualifying and ended Vladimír Weiss's side's 100% record. "The result is most important, but I'm also glad my team performed so well," said coach Vardan Minasyan. "We aim to win every match and
today our players surpassed expectations and deservedly so. We made the whole nation happy."
Defender Hrayr Mkoyan marked his return to the international fold with one of a host of stoical performances at the Yerevan Republican Stadium. "Yura Movsisyan's opener gave us extra energy," he said. "Despite Slovakia's equaliser we pushed forward and I'm tremendously happy right now. We proved ourselves as a true team who believe in each other."
Movsisyan, who opened the scoring on 23 minutes, played down the result. "I refuse to call it a sensation," he said. "We played well and deserved three points. But we shouldn't forget that we played against a very skilful side who were supposed to be favourites. Victories like this help with self-belief."
Having bounced back from an opening 1-0 loss to the Republic of Ireland with a 2-2 draw against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Armenia now have four points to their name – much to the delight of captain Sargis Hovsepyan.
"It was a very important game for us," he said after his 116th cap. "In previous campaigns we could have got four points, but ended with only one. The main thing is that we didn't break after losing to Ireland and drawing with [FYR] Macedonia.
Victory is always pleasant, but a victory like this, with a lot of youngsters, offers hope for the future."
Minasyan's Slovakian counterpart, Weiss, was magnanimous in defeat. "Armenia performed impressively and played better than us, showing speed and quality," he said. "I have to congratulate them. We lost because seven, maybe eight, of our players produced below-par performances. It's not a tragedy: we can still qualify."
Weiss's problems were compounded by Martin Škrtel receiving a booking which will rule the Liverpool FC defender out of Tuesday's game against the Republic of Ireland in Žilina. Ján Ďurica is expected to take his place.
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