Group C round-up
Cassano earns Italy win as Estonia stun Slovenia
Last Updated: September 2, 2011 11:06pm
Italy remained in control at the top of Group C after a narrow success away to the Faroe Islands while Estonia stunned Slovenia away from home.
Cesare Prandelli's Italy side are a step closer to securing qualification for Euro 2012 after Antonio Cassano's early goal earned a 1-0 win over the Faroes.
The Azzurri pressed from the off and took the lead on 11 minutes when Andrea Pirlo found Cassano inside the six-yard box and he fired past Faroe Islands goalkeeper Rene Torgard.
However, the Faroes did not buckle and came close to an equaliser on 24 minutes when Suni Olsen's 30-yard effort hit the post.
Giuseppe Rossi and Domenico Criscito missed chances for Italy, but the Faroes were denied by the woodwork again on 71 minutes when a fast counter-attack saw Hjalgrim Elttor feed Christian Holst in the heart of the area and his right-footed shot struck the crossbar.
Estonia put themselves in contention to finish second in the group after a 2-1 triumph in Slovenia lifted them above Northern Ireland, who lost 1-0 at home to Serbia.
The visitors took the lead on 29 minutes when Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic brought down Sergei Zenjov and was booked, and Konstantin Vassiljev stepped up to slot away the penalty.
Slovenia equalised on 77 minutes when Tim Matavz, who had missed good chances earlier in the game, turned home Zlatan Ljubijankic's cross.
However, parity lasted just three minutes as Estonia secured an impressive win when Vassiljev set up Ats Purje to finish right-footed.