Slovenia flew on the wings of Andraz Šporar (2 goals) and Benjamin Šešek (1 goal, 2 assists): 4:2 victory in Stožice
Well done, Slovenia! On Thursday night, in front of almost 13,000 spectators, Matjaz Kek’ s squad played a great game offensively and deservedly beat Northern Ireland in Stožice. The match at the biggest stadium in the country was a real football gourmet: both teams played open, there was a lot of attacking action and several chances for both sides, and in the end, six goals were scored. The home team’s attacking duo Andraž Šporar-Benjamin Šeško shone, while the Northern Irish were without a solution for the two players who provided three of the four Slovenian goals. The Slovenian defence was not at the right level this time, but fortunately Kek’s squad was not punished for it. It ended 4:2 in Slovenia’s favour.
Slovenia thus reaches its third victory in the qualification for the
, thus climbing to third place
. Kek’s squad has the same number of points (10) as Denmark, who expectedly beat San Marino, while Finland, who mat Kazakhstan away, leads with two more.
Slovenia will be back at it again on Sunday, when they host San Marino, the worst team in the group.
The start of the match could hardly have been better for the home team. After just over two minutes, Benjamin Šeško and Andraž Šporar had already found a hole in the defence, which was led by 35-year-old Manchester United returnee Jonny Evans. Šeško took advantage of the fact that the Northern Ireland defence was not set. He sent the ball towards Šporar, who came into the penalty area on the left and then fired a diagonal shot past the helpless Bailey Peacock-Farrell. 1:0! The spectators were on their feet, Slovenian flags high in the air.
Slovenia  – 0 Northern Ireland – Andraz Sporar 3‘pic.twitter.com/g31GcHFsb9
– GoalRushHQ (@GoalRushHQ) September 7, 2023
But the home fans were not on their feet for long. Four minutes later, the Islanders took advantage of the fact that the Slovenians had apparently celebrated a goal for a little too long. Conor McMenamin had too much space on the right side and took advantage with a great pass in front of goal. Matty Kennedy got the ball and the shot, but he quickly realised why Jan Oblak is what he is – one of the best in the world. The Slovenian captain played some outstanding defence, but unfortunately for him, the ball bounced straight onto the foot of Isaac Price, who had no problem scoring his first national team goal.
Evans scores an own goal and gets angry with the referee
The immediate blow hurt a lot, but the Slovenians did not mourn their fate for long. In 17. One minute in, the Slovenian flags were high in the air again, and the Northern Irish – it has to be admitted – were as furious as lynxes. Jaka Bijol sent an outstanding, truly outstanding diagonal pass across the “whole field”. Petar Stojanovic came up on the right wing, threw Ciaran Brown out of the play, looked up to pass in front of goal. But he was lucky: he didn’t really send the ball to any of his teammates, but into the net. It was diverted there by Evans, who had something similar happen to him a few days earlier in a club match against Arsenal. The captain went “crazy”, but not because he scored an own goal. He ran to the referee and loudly protested that Stojanovic had committed a foul on Brown, who even got injured and had to leave the game immediately afterwards. The protest was in vain. 2:1.
No matter what, Northern Ireland has not given up. The Slovenian goal was seriously threatened on both flanks several times, especially on the right side by the strong Conor McMenamin, a player of the Scottish club St. Mirren. The Slovenian defence was tested several times and Oblak had to prove himself. If we had written that the tie was in the air, we would not have been far from the truth. And the goal did fall. But not in the Slovenian net. At the end of the first half, someone else came on the scene. Someone on the home team. None other than him. The jewel of Slovenian football. Benjamin Šeško.
Šešek’s first goal was rightly disallowed for offside in the 41st minute. and everything was clean. After a pass from Adam Gnezda Cerin, the Slovenian star made space for a shot in the penalty area between three defenders, hit the ground and did it so well that Peacock-Farrell had no chance. 3:1.
Benjamin Šeško was Slovenia’s most outstanding player in the first half: 1 goal, 1 assist, 100% assist rate (9/9).
The three goals scored seemed to infuriate the Northern Irish in particular, as they came out of the dressing room in a bloodthirsty mood. First Evans “mowed down” Šešek badly in the air, then Šporar got a hump, and Price received a yellow card for a beastly start against Erik Janža. All this in less than five minutes of continuation… The Slovenians responded in their own way: with a great defensive performance. V 50. In the first minute, Šeško made a charm move on the edge of the box, he passed the ball to Jan Mlakar, who fed Šporar in front of the goal. The Panathinaikos player takes the first shot and hits… the crossbar!
Evans on the other side, Šporar back on the right side
What Šporar failed to do, Evans did on the other side, scoring for the second time; the second time on the “right” side. Žan Karničnik deflected the ball short in front of the goal, and it was Evans who did it. The latter, in the style of an attacker, “turned” the Cerin nest and fired; the shot was nothing special. But the ball grazed the leg of Jake Bijola and flew in an arc over the helpless Oblak. The competitor got closer, but after three minutes was back at “-2”. Šeško ripped the visiting defence apart with another outstanding pass. Šporar did not get caught in the loop of the offside trap, he came alone in front of the goalkeeper, got around him and routinely scored. 4:2.
⚽️ | Goal! | Sporar | 🇸🇮 Slovenia 4-2 Northern Ireland 🏳️
– OuiSports (@OuiSports) September 7, 2023
After the sixth goal, the game finally settled down a bit. The Slovenians took a step or two back, and the Northern Irish took control of the action on the green. Although Oblak’s net was not hit again for the rest of the game, the fact is that the Slovenian defence was simply too leaky during this period of the game. The visitors had three or four promising chances and fired several shots towards the Slovenian goal, but the home captain was not to be beaten. It is also true that the fact that the Northern Irish are already extremely combative footballers, but – hand on heart – they lack quality, has come to the fore. Otherwise, given how unreliable Slovenia’s defence has been, Slovenia would have… It’s lucky that this time, in an attack that has creaked far too many times in the past, it was a different story.
This text was automatically translated using AI.