David Lafata struck in added time to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 friendly win against Israel, with coach Michal Bílek taking the opportunity to field some fringe players in Hartberg, Austria.
The Czech league's top scorer this season with 25 goals for FK Jablonec, Lafata pounced on a loose ball and steered a shot into the net via a deflection as time ticked down. It was a morale boost for the Czechs, who had taken a first-half lead via a Milan Baroš penalty before Etey Shechter levelled. They will now meet Hungary in their final pre-UEFA EURO 2012 friendly on Friday before kicking off their Group A campaign against Russia seven days later.
Bílek had taken his side to Austria for a one-week training camp and left Petr Čech, Jaroslav Plašil, Michal Kadlec, Tomáš Pekhart and Jan Rezek out of his team to take on Israel, along with Tomáš Rosický, who is recovering from a calf-muscle injury. Baroš captained the side for the first time as he made his 88th international appearance.
The Galatasaray AŞ forward had further reason to celebrate when he won a penalty on 17 minutes and converted it himself, though Israel goalkeeper Ariel Harush came close to denying him a 41st international goal. Roman Hubník then headed against the post, but Israel struck back on the stroke of half-time as Shechter got a head to Maor Melikson's cross.
The UEFA EURO 2012 hopefuls kept up the pressure, and Daniel Kolář's volley drew a fine save from Harush in the 76th minute. However, when debutant midfielder Vladimír Darida found the post from 25 metres with five minutes to go, it looked like the Czechs' luck might be out. Substitute Lafata, though, had other ideas.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.