Section leaders Italy were the real winners as the sides placed second and third in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B drew a blank in Prague.
With the Czech Republic and Bulgaria both electing to play on the counterattack, set pieces were to provide the only tangible danger in the first half. Tomáš Sivok headed over from one Jaroslav Plašil corner, with Petr Jiráček nodding wide from another before the visitors created a scare in first-half added time, Nikolay Bodurov heading centimetres off target from a Georgi Iliev free-kick.
Luboslav Penev's Bulgaria stuck to the script after the interval, hoping to catch their hosts on the break – something they almost did on 69 minutes when Georgi Milanov got his head to a Stanislav Manolev ball from the right but could not steer it inside the post.
The Czechs responded and substitute Vladimír Darida's rising shot from distance drew a decent save from Nikolay Mihaylov. Eight minutes from time, Plašil's ball sent Matěj Vydra scampering into the box, yet while he rounded the goalkeeper, Yordan Minev got back to clear his effort off the line. Michal Bílek's men might also have won it in stoppage time, but after Jiráček chested down Darida's pass, Mihaylov rebuffed his attempt on the half volley.
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