Slovakia were held to a goalless draw by a defensive-minded Latvia side in Riga.
Still hoping to catch second-placed Russia and claim a spot in the play-offs for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals, Group 3 hopefuls Slovakia were stifled by their Baltic opponents despite having the upper hand throughout.
Off the bar
Ivan Lietava had an excellent chance to open the scoring for Jozef Bubenko's team after just nine minutes but his drive from 18 metres rattled the crossbar. A few minutes later, the striker was handed another opportunity but he missed the target from a good position.
After 32 minutes, Latvia goalkeeper Pavels Šteinbors demonstrated his skills as he kept out a fierce shot from Slovakia's Milan Ivana - but he was to be saved by his goal frame three minutes later as Igor Zofcak was denied by the woodwork.
Latvia remained diligent in defence throughout and only truly threatened their opponents' goal through Aleksejs Višnakovs's dangerous free-kicks. But while Slovakia continued to attack in numbers after the interval, they were unable to make the breakthrough.
However, Russia's 1-0 defeat by Portugal in Moscow means Slovakia's chances of taking second position in Group 3 are still alive. With two games to play, they are three points behind Russia, whom they entertain in their final qualifier on 12 October.