Slovenia 3-0 Malta
Slovenia secured a convincing 3-0 victory over Malta in their EURO 2004 Group 1 qualifying match in Ljubljana.
Slovenia, without midfield player Nastja Ceh through suspension, stared the match brightly, although Ermin Šiljak did test visiting goalkeeper Mario Muscat with a fine effort after 15 minutes.
In a tense tie, Malta adopted a defensive stance throughout in a bid to frustrate their impressive hosts. However, their plan backfired eight minutes before the interval when Darren Debono attempted to clear Amir Karic's cross only to direct the ball into his own net.
Šiljak on target
Slovenia, who failed to progress beyond the first round of this summer's FIFA World Cup finals, continued to look a well-organised outfit after hitting the front, and extended their advantage on the hour mark when Šiljak scored after good work from Karic.
Despite being behind, Malta maintained their defensive tactic and failed to create a chance of any real note for the remainder of the match. Sebastjan Cimerotic sealed the victory for Slovenia with a fine solo effort, dribbling past two defenders, in the dying seconds.
Šiljak was replaced by Rakovic in the final minute, leaving the pitch to a standing ovation. In what proved to be an ill-tempered affair, Malta had five men booked but were unable to turn their aggression into positive, attacking football.
In the night's other Group 1 encounter, reigning European champions France came from a goal down to secure a 2-1 victory over Cyprus in Nicosia.