Slovakia moved back into contention in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group D thanks to a second-half comeback against Cyprus in Nicosia.
Cyprus had appeared on course for a shock victory when they took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Efstathios Aloneftis, a minute after home goalkeeper Michael Morphis had been sent off. But Slovakia made their numerical advantage count after the break with Robert Vittek, Martin Škrtel and Martin Jakubko scoring to secure three points and put pressure on Germany and Czech Republic at the top of the group.
The visitors could have been in front inside two minutes, only for Morphis to save from Dušan Švento, and they continued to have the better of the early exchanges with Jakubko curling a shot wide. Vratislav Greško was next to pepper the hosts' goal with a free-kick that Morphis was again equal to. The picture bleakened for Cyprus when Morphis was dismissed just before the interval for a foul on Švento outside the area, yet they responded by scoring with their first effort of note. Konstantinos Charalampidis's strike was parried by Kamil Čontofalský and Aloneftis was on hand to stab in the rebound.
Slovakia were a different proposition after the restart, though, and Vittek hauled them level on 54 minutes by converting Marek Sapara's cross. Škrtel then put the away team ahead with a thumping volley from the edge of the box 13 minutes later. The turnaround was complete on 77 minutes when Jakubko nodded in from close range after a fine centre from Ján Kozák, and Igor Žofčák nearly added a late fourth only for his attempt to rebound off the post. Slovakia now travel to the Republic of Ireland, and Cyprus to the Czech Republic, for their next qualifiers on Wednesday.