The curse of Zilina continues for Slovakia as they lost further ground on Group G leaders Bosnia and Herzegovina despite coming from behind to earn a point against Lithuania.
Slovakia had managed a solitary draw in five previous games at the Štadión pod Dubňom and any hope of breaking the spell dwindled when Darvydas Šernas broke the deadlock against the run of play on 19 minutes. Martin Jakubko restored parity before half-time, though, and the home team piled on the pressure, twice hitting the woodwork, to no avail. The end result was nevertheless as it was when these sides met in Vilnius in September: 1-1.
It was a scoreline that suited neither team's FIFA World Cup aspirations. Slovakia began with particular purpose, forcing Lithuania goalkeeper Žydrunas Karčemarskas into early action. The visitors rolled the blows before Šernas delivered the sucker punch from the edge of the area. The home team regrouped, and while Marek Hamšík squandered a great chance Jakubko would not do the same five minutes before the interval, acrobatically finding the net.
It set up a breathless second half as Róbert Mak, on his competitive debut, wasted two chances for Slovakia and Marek Sapara's free-kick struck the crossbar. Juraj Kucka volleyed against the upright and Martin Škrtel's header was saved and Lithuania almost stole the points at the death; Šernas fired just wide.