The Czech Republic overcame URO 2004™ qualifying Group 3 opponents Moldova 2-0 despite heavy rain at the Republican stadium in Chisinau.
A 68th-minute penalty converted by Marek Jankulovski gave the visitors the advantage before Tomáš Rosický doubled the scoring ten minutes later from a fine ball by Stepan Vachousek to underline their second-half superiority.
Despite playing without the banned Pavel Nedved and Milan Barós, Karel Brückner's side provided most of the threat in the early stages of the game with Jan Koller and Vachousek forcing the Moldovan defence into some desperate defending.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring after just eight minutes as Karel Poborský set up Rosický from a free-kick, but Evghenii Hmaruc displayed excellent reflexes in the Moldovan goal to deny the young Czechs.
Tomáš Ujfalusi hit the post three minutes later, as the pressure built in front of Moldovan goal, but after weathering the early storm, the home side gradually battled their way into the game and started to mount attacks of their own.
Serghei Clescenco robbed Poborský in midfield and sent in a fine, hanging cross for Serghei Rgaciov which Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech did well to claim as the striker shaped to head towards goal.
However, despite Moldova's positive progress, the second half was to belong to the Czech Republic as they took the game to their hosts who were reduced to ten men after the dismissal of Andrian Sosnovschi for a second bookable offence after conceding the 68th-minute penalty which gave the visitors the lead.
Respect for Moldova
"It was hard to play on a damp pitch tonight, and I am happy for my players who overcame their difficulties," said Brückner after the game. "I liked the way Moldova played - I can say we took the few chances we had."
Class wins out
Meanwhile, Moldova coach Viktor Pasulko maintained that he was satisfied with his side's performance. "The weather made the game a lot more equal but it was the class of the Czechs that won the game."