The Czech Republic made it four points from their first two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with victory against Malta in Group B.
A header from Theodor Gebre Selassie opened the scoring 11 minutes before half-time for the Czechs, who started their campaign last month with a goalless draw in Denmark. While the visitors went in at the break level courtesy of Roderick Briffa, Michal Bílek's side were quickly in front after the restart through Tomáš Pekhart. Jan Rezek's goal midway through the half confirmed the points for the hosts and Malta's third defeat in the section.
The Czechs initially struggled to create anything of note against a watchful Malta rearguard, their first opening not coming until the 33-minute mark. Andrew Hogg spilled Jaroslav Plašil's long-distance attempt but Petr Jiráček, pouncing on the rebound, was unable to beat the goalkeeper from close range.
It was a temporary reprieve as 60 seconds later Hogg was picking the ball out of his net after Gebre Selassie headed in David Limberský's left-wing cross for his first international goal. Briffa ensured the lead was short-lived, capitalising on a mistake by Michal Kadlec and beating Petr Čech with a shot high into the net.
Pekhart, prolific at Under-21 level, emulated Gebre Selassie by scoring his first for the seniors seven minutes into the second half, heading in Jiráček’s left-sided delivery.
Rezek gave the Czechs a two-goal cushion when he finished off a sweeping counterattack which culminated in Plašil finding the Anorthosis Famagusta FC forward with a clever pass. Čech prevented a tense finale by keeping out a Michael Mifsud penalty following Milan Petržela's foul on the Malta captain.
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