Slovakia ended hosts United Arab Emirates' chances of extending their participation at the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win in Abu Dhabi, and now face a wait to see if they will join Brazil and Honduras in the Round of 16.
A pair of headers from Tomas Vestenicky gave Slovakia a huge push in the direction of the knockout stages, despite spending the whole of the second period without Jakub Gric, who was dismissed for his second bookable offence.
Neither team's tournament had quite gone to plan ahead of the game, with Slovakia the only one to have picked up a point so far, albeit having been pegged-back from two goals up against Honduras in their last outing. Even so, qualification as one of the best third-placed sides was still a possibility if either could pick up a win.
Both made their intentions clear in the opening few minutes, with first Vestenicky testing Mohamed Al Shamsi before Sultan Al Shamsi reciprocated at the other end, forcing Martin Junas into a save. Lukas Haraslin, who looked sparkling in midfield, linked up with Vestenicky superbly, skipping through the defence and around the hosts' goalkeeper, only for Rashid Ahmad's goal-line block to maintain parity. The No17 then set-up a great chance for Denis Vavro, but he headed straight at Mohamed Al Shamsi.
While UAE competed well, having created their fair share of early chances, they could not seem to minimise the impact of Vestenicky and Haraslin, with the pair eventually combining for the opener. A deep free-kick from the latter found the striker free in the area, and he dispatched his header with unerring accuracy.
Right on half-time though, the pendulum looked to be inching back towards UAE, as Slovakia were reduced to ten men, with Gric earning his second booking of the first period. The home side looked to draw level early in the second half, as Mohamed Al Akberi's long-range shot forced Junas to tip the effort over the bar.
Despite being a man light, Slovakia doubled their lead, with the same combination of participants bringing about the result. This time it was a corner that Haraslin used to provide Vestenicky with his ammo, as the big striker got ahead of his marker at the near post to hit his fourth of UAE 2013.
It could have been three late on, as good work from Filip Lesniak set up Juarj Chvatal, but his shot flew over. Slovakia now must wait until the remaining groups play their final games, to see if they finish as one of the top four third-place sides.