Defeat in Slovenia ends Serbia's play-off dream

Slovenia 1-0 Serbia Dare Vršič scored the only goal of the game as Slovenia ended their opponents' play-off hopes with a narrow victory at the Stadion Ljudski vrt.

Dare Vršić scored the goal that ended Serbia's UEFA EURO 2012 dream
Dare Vršić scored the goal that ended Serbia's UEFA EURO 2012 dream ©Getty Images

Serbia's hopes of pipping Estonia to second spot in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group C and securing a play-off place were ended by a narrow defeat at the hands of Slovenia.

Dare Vršič scored the only goal of the game in added time at the end of the first half. Nemanja Vidić missed a penalty after the break, and with that Serbia's hopes of a play-off berth faded.

With both defences on top, neither side were able to fashion any clear-cut chances early on and the two teams were reduced to long-range efforts. The game came to life right at the end of the first half when Vršič's free-kick found the top right-hand corner to give Bojan Jorgačević in the visitors' goal no chance.

Serbia were much improved after the break although Slovenia's Tim Matavž came close to doubling the hosts' advantage just shy of the hour only for his strike to drift narrowly wide.

Needing victory to keep their play-off hopes alive, Serbia battled on, and  substitute Miloš Krasić almost drew them level but his 60th-minute strike was well saved by Samir Handanovič. Vladimir Petrović's side were then awarded a penalty after Marko Šuler felled Krasić, but Manchester United FC defender Vidić saw his spot kick saved by the impressive Handanovič.

With that, Serbia's hopes of a comeback ended as a resilient Slovenian defence held on to secure fourth spot in the section, one point behind their opponents in third.

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