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Slovakia march on with FYR Macedonia scalp

Slovakia 2-1 FYR Macedonia
First-half goals from Kornel Saláta and Marek Hamšík in Zilina were enough to maintain the 100% record of Ján Kozák's Group C leaders.

Highlights: Slovakia 2-1 FYR Macedonia

Slovakia make it six wins from six in Group C with success in Zilina
Kornel Saláta and Marek Hamšík establish commanding first-half lead
Arijan Ademi pulls one back for FYR Macedonia, who end with ten men
Perfect record keeps hosts top of section, three points clear of Spain
Next qualifiers: Spain v Slovakia, Luxembourg v FYR Macedonia (5 September)

Slovakia's march to UEFA EURO 2016 continued as they made it six wins from six in Group C, beating FYR Macedonia in Zilina to close in on a finals place.

There was little danger of Ján Kozák's men surrendering their 100% record after Kornel Saláta had headed them into an early lead, and when Marek Hamšík doubled the advantage the points looked safe. Arijan Ademi unexpectedly pulled one back, but it was not enough to prevent the leaders staying three points clear of Spain and six ahead of third-placed Ukraine.

Unbeaten in seven games against FYR Macedonia, the hosts were in command from the off. It took just eight minutes for the breakthrough to come as Peter Pekarík headed a clearance back into a busy box and Saláta timed his run beyond the defence to nod a precision effort past Tome Pacovski and into the corner.

Captain Hamšík went close twice before making it third time lucky. The No17 had a shot deflected wide and then lashed over after neatly bringing down on his chest, but the SSC Napoli man did not squander his next opening. Running onto Róbert Mak's cute pass, he showed the coolest head in the stadium, sending the visiting goalkeeper one way, walking the ball round the other, and tapping in.

The pattern was familiar in the second period. Hamšík shot straight at Pacovski, Juraj Kucka's powerful shot was kept out by the same man and the Macedonian No1 had to be at his best to deny Mak from an angle. A nervy finish ensued for the hosts after Muarem Muarem helped on a corner to allow Ademi to drive in from close range, but Slovakia's attempts to close out the game were helped by Feran Hasani's second yellow card in the 84th minute.