Belarus earned their first UEFA EURO 2008™ Group G win in thrilling style against Slovenia in Minsk.
Coming from behind
Denis Kovba had put the hosts ahead, before goals from defender Bostjan Cesar and Klemen Lavrič gave the visitors a half-time advantage. However, a second-half brace from Sergei Kornilenko and a further strike from substitute Vladimir Korythko wrapped up a memorable comeback by Yuri Puntus's men.
The Belarussians had started the brighter of the two sides, Kornilenko forcing goalkeeper Borut Mavrič to tip his effort around the post as early as the second minute. The home team got their reward in the 23rd minute when Kornilenko received the ball in plenty of space and picked out Kovba, who finished coolly into the bottom corner from ten metres for his second international goal.
The hosts switched off with the euphoria of taking the lead, and Cesar pulled Slovenia level almost immediately after the restart. The away side drew confidence from their equaliser and were in front two minutes before the break. Robert Koren got to the by-line and crossed for Lavrič to head past the stranded Vladimir Gayev and into the top right-hand corner.
Whatever Puntus said at half-time seemed to work as Belarus returned to the field full of intent. They conjured a goal within five minutes of the restart, Kornilenko nodding in Timofei Kalachev's centre. Kornilenko then made no mistake in rifling in his second on the hour to secure a 3-2 advantage, which Korythko consolidated with a sublime strike in the 85th minute. The victory lifts Slovenia to four points from four games, one more than Belarus have from their three outings.