Cyprus’ hopes of a late charge for a historic place at the World Cup next summer ended in Tallinn on Sunday after going down 1-0 to hosts Estonia.
Ben Shimon’s side had stunned Bosnia 3-2 in Nicosia last week to give themselves a glimmer of hope in sealing second place but the island needed to win again in Estonia on Sunday night to give themselves a fighting chance.
But Cyprus was left frustrated against a stubborn Estonian defence and eventually fell to an injury time strike from Mattias Kait.
Fourth place Cyprus’ final two games in the group are against Greece at home on next month and then Belgium – who have already qualified – away.
“This national team can do a lot…The players are willing and capable. We didn’t play well and perhaps Estonia deserved the win. But my players gave their all and perhaps this was just a bad day for us.”