Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered a first loss in qualifying to relinquish their advantage in Group G, Viktor Pečovský's effort giving Slovakia victory in Zenica.
With Greece recording a victory in Liechtenstein the hosts needed to win to maintain their three-point cushion at the head of the section. Instead the visitors earned their first success on the road in this campaign, courtesy of Pečovský's 77th-minute strike from range, to dent Safet Sušić's side's hopes of making a first major finals.
On the back of four successive qualifying wins the hosts were expected to take the game to Slovakia but the visitors made it known they were not just making up the numbers as they went on the front foot from the off. Stanislav Šesták directed a shot off target while Marek Hamšík saw an effort blocked; at the other end, neither Ermin Bičakčić nor Zvjezdan Misimović could test Ján Mucha in the visitors' goal.
After the break Hamšík and Vladimír Weiss forced Asmir Begović into fine saves while Senad Lulić was a fraction away from putting the hosts in front as he shot just wide. The home crowd were silenced with 13 minutes remaining as Weiss's cross from the left was only half cleared by Edin Džeko, allowing Pečovský to drive a low shot between bodies in the area from 25 metres and leaving Begović with no chance.
Bosnia and Herzegovina still hold the edge in the section with a superior goal difference and better head-to-head record than Greece, but must make sure they do not slip up again when they head to Slovakia for the return fixture on Tuesday.