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Petr Čech told UEFA.com the Czech Republic's 2-0 first-leg play-off victory against Montenegro was "the ideal result" ahead of Tuesday's testing trip to Podgorica.
Faced with obstinate opponents, a Tomáš Rosický-inspired Czech side took the lead when Václav Pilař spectacularly opened the scoring just after the hour mark in the Czech capital. Tomáš Sivok then capped a fine night for the hosts when he headed a second in added time to leave Michal Bílek's men with the upper hand at the halfway stage in the tie.
"It's the ideal result for us. If someone had offered us that before kick-off, we would have signed for it straight away," said Čech. "We didn't take our chances in the first half, and said that we needed to be patient, not give them any chances, and wait for our chance to score. They had their chances at the start of the second half. We got ours and scored, and the second goal at the end was great as 1-0 is different to 2-0."
Playing in a custom-made mask to protect his nose which was broken playing for Chelsea FC last weekend, Čech did not have too much to do to keep him warm in Prague's Stadion Letná. However, after Mirko Vučinić had spurned a first-half opportunity, the visitors pressed insistently in the early minutes of the second half when Čech produced a high-quality save to deny Simon Vukčević what would have been a game-changing opener.
"We knew that their attacking play is brilliant and that they don't need much space to create a chance," said the 29-year-old goalkeeper. "We gave them space at the start of the second half, but in other areas, we did really well. We know that they have nothing to lose, they have to score at least two goals and they'll go for it. It's going to be a test for us, but I hope that with the advantage that we have now, we're going to make it."
The result certainly leaves Montenegro with work to do if they want to reach a first major tournament. Despite their first-leg disappointment, however, defender Stefan Savić said Branko Brnović's men would leave Prague with few regrets and with cause for optimism.
"We came out with three strikers and tried to attack," the Manchester City FC defender told UEFA.com. "They pressured us, and played well in this game. Everything's not lost, though. We have our chances, even if it's going to be very hard. At 1-0, it would have been easier for us at home but to concede twice in the second half is disappointing. We have good strikers who can score goals. They didn't have much luck today, but I think we're strong, and we'll try and get a good result in the second leg."
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