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Slovakia laid waste by sparkly Armenia

Slovakia 0-4 Armenia
Vardan Minasyan's side staked a claim for a top-two finish in Group B with a magnificent second-half display in Zilina.

Armenia's Hrayr Mkoyan (in red) challenges Slovakia's Filip Hološko
Armenia's Hrayr Mkoyan (in red) challenges Slovakia's Filip Hološko ©Getty Images

Four days after earning a brave 0-0 draw in Dublin, Slovakia missed their chance to go top of UEFA EURO 2012 Group B as Armenia claimed a shock 4-0 victory in Zilina.

Armenia beat Slovakia 3-1 in Yerevan last year, but Vladimír Weiss's side would not have expected another defeat by such a dramatic margin, with Yura Movsisyan, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Gevorg Ghazaryan and Artur Sarkisov scoring to send Vardan Minasyan's side unexpectedly in sight of a top-two finish in a supremely competitive section.

There was little in the first half to suggest what would follow. Slovakia shaded the action, with captain Marek Hamšík denied three times by Roman Berezovsky and Martin Škrtel striking another effort wide. Armenia had mustered little in response before half-time, but turned up the heat ominously after the interval.

Slovakia No1 Ján Mucha blocked Karlen Mkrtchyan's rasping shot but proved to be no match for Movsisyan, whose angled effort opened the scoring on 57 minutes. Filip Hološko almost struck back on the break, before Mkhitaryan's shot from 18 metres silenced the home supporters once more 20 minutes from time.

With the hosts pushing on, Mkhitaryan broke, laying on a third goal for Ghazaryan, and while Slovakia battled on gamely, peppering Berezovsky's goal with shots, Sarkisov headed Armenia's fourth into an empty net in added time. They next meet the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at home on 7 October while Slovakia play host to group leaders Russia.