Venue: Stadion Ljudski â€“ Maribor, Slovenia
Cologne striker Novakovic hit the target in just the 6th minute with a free-kick that flew past All Whites keeper Mark Paston before Rory Fallon restored parity in the 20th minute.
After some good form against Australia and then a win over Serbia, Ricki Herbertâ€™s men were riding high but were soon brought back down to earth when Novakovic made it 2-1 with another dead-ball situation ten minutes later before Andraz Kirm gave the home side a two-goal buffer right on half-time.
The second half contest did not provide anything close to what occurred in the opening 45 minutes as Slovenia boss Matjaz Kek made five substitutions to see the game out.
Jasmin Handanovic (gk), Bostjan Cesar, Marko Suler, Bojan Jokic, Miso Brecko (Ilic 76â€™), Robert Koren, Aleksandar Radosavljevic (Krhin 78â€™), Andraz Kirm (Matavz 84â€™), Valter Birsa (Komac 80â€™), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Dedic 12â€™), Milivoje Novakovic (Pecnik 62â€™)
Subs - Zlatko Dedic (12â€™), Nejc Pecnik (62â€™), Branko Ilic (76â€™), Rene Krhin (78â€™), Andrej Komac (80â€™), Tim Matavz (84â€™)
Subs - Jeremy Brockie (46â€™)