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Novakovič double helps Slovenia topple Lithuania

Lithuania 0-2 Slovenia
Milivoje Novakovič scored a pair of first-half goals as the visitors ended Lithuania's perfect Group E record in Vilnius.

Highlights: Lithuania v Slovenia

Two first-half Milivoje Novakovič goals secure Slovenia win
Lithuania's perfect Group E start ended in Vilnius
Visitors clinch successive victories after beating Switzerland on Thursday
Both sides on six points with three games played
Next games: Switzerland v Lithuania, England v Slovenia (15 November)

A pair of goals from Milivoje Novakovič secured the points for Slovenia as they ended Lithuania's perfect start to Group E.

With two wins from their opening two games, the home side were expected to assert themselves on the opposition, but – having beaten Switzerland last time out – Slovenia were not in Vilnius to make up the numbers. The visitors went close early on as Jasmin Kurtič drifted in from the left and fizzed a low shot a whisker wide, before Fiodor Černych missed narrowly at the other end.

Lithuania were the more assertive side through most of the half, though only had Arvydas Novikovas's spectacular but wayward volley to show for it, and Slovenia displayed their clinical edge to earn a dominant lead by the break.

First, on 33 minutes, Nejc Pečnik slipped a lovely pass to Novakovič for the forward to control and finish, and then Kevin Kampl sprinted clear on the left and crossed low to allow the No11 to double his personal tally, slotting in at the second attempt after a good save from Giedrius Arlauskis.

Buoyed by their cushion, Srečko Katanec's side were happy to sit back and soak up pressure after the interval, something they did remarkably effectively. Despite being two down, the hosts barely troubled Samir Handanovič in the Slovenia goal – Gediminas Vičius volleyed wide, Novikovas thrashed well over from range and Mišo Brečko blocked from Saulius Mikoliunas.

The visitors thus eased to the win to put themselves in a strong position in the section, something few thought possible after their opening defeat in Estonia.