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Slovakia's Stoch strikes late to end Spain run

Slovakia 2-1 Spain
Miroslav Stoch's 87th-minute goal gave the home side a famous victory and ended Spain's eight-year, 36-match unbeaten qualifying run.

Highlights: Watch Slovakia stun Spain in qualifying
Highlights: Watch Slovakia stun Spain in qualifying

First qualifying defeat for European champions since October 2006
Substitute Miroslav Stoch's 87th-minute winner inflicts first loss in 36 qualifiers
Paco Alcácer seemingly salvages draw for Vicente del Bosque's side (82)
Juraj Kucka gives Slovakia first-half lead (17)
Next games: Belarus v Slovakia, Luxembourg v Spain (12 October)

A late goal from Slovakia substitute Miroslav Stoch ended Spain's eight-year, 36-match unbeaten run in qualifying and secured a famous Group C win.

Not since a 2-0 reverse in Sweden in October 2006 had Spain lost a qualifying fixture in either the UEFA European Championship or the FIFA World Cup, and it looked like that fate had been avoided when substitute Paco Alcácer cancelled out Juraj Kucka's first-half effort with eight minutes left. Five minutes later, however, Slovakia's own replacement Stoch converted a Michal Ďuriš cross to clinch a memorable Slovak victory.

The first half was the epitome of UEFA European Championship qualifying. Slovakia weathered shrewd Spanish play, aiming to first avoid conceding before taking the battle to the European champions. Iker Casillas's early save, remarkable for his instant reaction from Róbert Mak's point-blank volley, made it seem it might be his night – an impression shattered pretty promptly.

Although Diego Costa's header shaved the post and Andrés Iniesta shot narrowly past the other side of Matúš Kozáčik's goal, Slovakia suddenly led. After a Sergio Busquets foul, Vladimír Weiss tapped the free-kick to Juraj Kucka whose strike swerved beyond Casillas with the keeper moving right and the ball going left. 

Spain moved up a gear but Slovakia's hard work gave them the edge, although before the interval they needed two fine Kozáčik stops, first from Costa's header then from Busquets's volley, to stay in front.

After half-time the home custodian did equally brilliantly to divert good shots from Costa and Cesc Fàbregas before repelling Costa again after the striker had broken through. Kozáčik was finally beaten eight minutes from time, Jordi Alba's cross to Alcácer proving deadly, and it appeared Spain would escape with a point.

Slovakia, and Stoch, thought differently. Substitute Ďuriš played a lovely one-two with Marek Hamšík on the right before curling an ideal ball to the back post where Stoch nodded in to crown a remarkable evening in Zilina.