Grp E: Iceland hopes dented by Slovenia

Iceland's hopes of claiming a top-two finish in World Cup qualifying Group E suffered a blow as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Slovenia in Reykjavik.

Football News: Robert Korena, Slovenia

The home side would have moved into first place with a victory and they were briefly on course to do so after goals from Birkir Bjarnason and Alfred Finnbogason saw them overturn an early deficit to lead 2-1 with 26 minutes gone.

However, Slovenia made it 2-2 almost immediately through Valter Birsa and then second-half goals from Bostjan Cesar and Rene Krhin earned them a second victory to climb off the foot of the standings.

Iceland won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Ljubljana in March but they knew they would have to work hard to repeat that success tonight after falling behind in the 11th minute when Andraz Kirm slotted home from the edge of the box.

The home side bounced back though and took the lead with two goals in four minutes, Bjarnason heading the teams level in the 22nd minute before Finnbogason put them ahead from the penalty spot after the Heerenveen striker had been brought down by Branko Ilic.

Slovenia were behind for barely four minutes however before they won a penalty of their own, Aron Gunnarsson fouling Milivoje Novakovic, and Birsa slotted past Hannes Thor Halldorsson to equalise.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson was denied by a good save from Samir Handanovic as he looked to put Iceland back in front at the start of the second half, but it was Slovenia who made the next breakthrough when Cesar headed home Birsa's outswinging corner on the hour mark.

Iceland tried to fight back again but Handanovic parried Finnbogason's shot and Eidur Gudjohnsen fired a late free-kick over before Slovenia wrapped up the points in the 85th minute when Krhin fired into the bottom corner to make it 4-2.



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