Wed, 28 Sep 2022

TRNAVA, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Slovakia lost to Azerbaijan 2-1 at home in the UEFA Nations League C-division Group Three actions on Thursday.

The defeat saw Slovakia slip to the third spot in the standings with one match to go.

Slovakia entered the match played in the Anton Malatinsky Stadium in Trnava without a chance of advancing to the B-division of the European competition as Kazakhstan grabbed first place in the standings earlier on Thursday (only the top teams from each group will advance).

Azerbaijan took the lead in the 44th minute as Zurich Grasshopper striker Renat Dadashov sent the ball in from close range.

The home team leveled the match through a penalty kick from Viktoria Plzen midfielder Erik Jirka in the 93rd minute.

However, Azerbaijan hit the winner in the final seconds of the match when defender Hojjat Hagverdi was left unmarked in the box and headed home following a corner kick.

"It's a pity. After a bad start, we managed to improve in the second half and produced more scoring opportunities but failed to convert on them," Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona said.

"However, I see hope for the team based on the performance in the second half. We learned a valuable lesson today. We have to keep playing until the referee blows his whistle," added Calzona.

Slovakia will finish its Nations League schedule with the match on Sunday against Belarus.

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