By Denis Orlov
Slovenia gained revenge for their 4-1 loss at home to Belarus in march with a 2-1 victory in Minsk that takes them into third place in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 5.
Leanid Kovel came close for the home team on three minutes, but not long after at the other end Miso Brecko struck the post in what was a frantic opening. With ten minutes left in the half Oleg Shkabara threatened the Slovenian goal, while Miran Burgic missed the target for the visitors.
It was Burgic who was then involved in the pivotal episode on the match as home goalkeeper Ihar Lohvinav upended him in the Belarus box and teenager Valter Birsa converted the penalty. Shkabara nearly equalized as he headed on to the post but just before the break Dejan Robnik lobbed Logvinov from 17 metres out to make it 2-0.
The away team defended deep in the second half, and were rewarded as Belarus could only manage one goal, Shkabara setting up Vitali Rodionov to score 18 minutes from the end. Slovenia are now two points behind second-placed Norway, who they welcome next on 2 September.
Belarus coach Yuri Puntus, whose team can return to third place with win here against bottom team Scotland on Tuesday, said: "I could not motivate my players well enough after that big victory in Slovenia. That's why the first half was so poor."