Play-offs for Slovenia after San Marino success

San Marino 0-2 Slovenia Boštjan Cesar and Nejc Pečnik's goals ensured the visitors did enough in Serravalle to secure three points and a place in Sunday's play-off draw.

See the highlights from Serravalle, including goals from Boštjan Cesar and Nejc Pečnik, as the away side secured a playoff spot with their fifth Group E win.
  • Win assures Slovenia of third place in Group E and a play-off spot 
  • Headers from Boštjan Cesar and Nejc Pečnik make the difference
  • San Marino end campaign with one point – their best ever EURO qualifying effort
  • Hosts now winless in all 61 competitive home fixtures
  • Play-off draw takes place on Sunday at 11.20CET in Nyon

Slovenia guaranteed themselves a spot in Sunday's UEFA EURO 2016 play-off draw with a hard-fought win in San Marino as Group E concluded.

Knowing a point would be enough to ensure third spot – and with it the play-off prize – Srečko Katanec's men looked nervous and could have been behind by the interval against a side who had never won a competitive home fixture in 60 previous attempts. Slovenia pulled things together after the restart and Boštjan Cesar crashed in a header in the 54th minute before Nejc Pečnik added one of his own.

They may have conceded 34 times in their previous nine qualifiers but the hosts did an excellent job of restricting Slovenia in the first period. Aldo Simoncini did not have a save to make as Andraž Kirm sent a free-kick over for the visitors and Miral Samardžić headed high and wide a decent opening from a corner.

In fact, it was San Marino who might easily have gone ahead. A free-kick into Slovene area caused chaos and José Hirsch had a goal-bound shot well blocked before Andy Selva turned the rebound a fraction wide. Matteo Vitaioli also tested Jan Oblak with a low strike as the San Marinese had the better of it.

Katanec's team established a more dominant platform after the resumption and following sights of goal for substitutes Pečnik and Tim Matavž, the goal arrived. Kirm swung his corner in from the left and captain Cesar lost his marker to power a thunderous header past Simoncini's left glove. With 15 minutes left Bojan Jokić drove over a cross and Pečnik flashed a header into the net via the inside of the post to double the lead. Slovenian finals hopes remain very much alive.

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