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Liechtenstein confident for the journey ahead

Published: Saturday 8 June 2013, 19.04CET
Unbeaten in his first two competitive games as Liechtenstein coach, René Pauritsch is hopeful of finishing qualifying Group G with a flourish after a 1-1 draw against Slovakia.
by Michael Schifferle
from Vaduz
Liechtenstein confident for the journey ahead
Sandro Wieser (right) holds off Slovakia's Miroslav Stoch ©AFP/Getty Images

Published: Saturday 8 June 2013, 19.04CET

Liechtenstein confident for the journey ahead

Unbeaten in his first two competitive games as Liechtenstein coach, René Pauritsch is hopeful of finishing qualifying Group G with a flourish after a 1-1 draw against Slovakia.

Buoyed by a second successive draw in FIFA World Cup qualifying, Liechtenstein coach René Pauritsch is optimistic there are "one or two more points to be had" for his team in the remainder of the campaign after a weakened XI held Slovakia.

The better side in the first half in Vaduz, Liechtenstein were within 17 minutes of their first competitive win in two years until Ján Ďurica equalised. That they were in that position, however, was particularly encouraging given that defensive leader Martin Stocklasa, midfielder Michele Polverino and winger Franz Burgmeier, who boast a combined 198 caps between them, were absent through suspension.

If that was a considerable handicap to overcome, the hosts then lost key striker Mario Frick to injury after 28 minutes. "I'm proud of everyone for the way we made up for a lack of experience with a battling and committed performance," said Pauritsch, whose team drew 1-1 with Latvia in their previous Group G outing. "If we keep it up, there are certainly one or two more points to be had during these qualifiers."

After Ďurica had cancelled out Martin Büchel's 13th-minute strike, Slovakia had a flurry of attempts on Peter Jehle's goal as they tried in vain to force a victory which would have kept them on the coat-tails of second-placed Greece.

Though he acknowledged his charges were perhaps a little fortunate to hold on, Pauritsch was in no doubt they were worth a share of the spoils. "It was a great battle," he said. "We were a little lucky at the end, but the lads deserved their point."

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim midfielder Sandro Wieser, who at the age of 20 already has 17 caps, added: "We were courageous and confident and, when we play like that, we can give anybody a game. That's not something we've just shown for the first time today."

Last updated: 08/05/14 5.01CET

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