The Czech Republic secured a slim advantage to take into the second leg of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off in Bosnia-Herzegovina next Tuesday after coming out 2-1 winners at home in Jablonec.
Roman Hubník scored the goal that gives the Czechs the edge after Sejad Salihović had cancelled out Daniel Kolář's first-half opener, leaving the tie nicely balanced with at least 90 minutes still to play.
The visitors survived early pressure from the Czechs, who were unable to break down a stubborn Bosnia-Herzegovina defence. However, Kolář gave them the lead on 34 minutes, latching on to a Jan Holenda pass to register his second goal in qualifying following a strike against Cyprus in the group stage.
The hosts continued to be the more effective side in the second half as Bosnia-Herzegovina struggled with Czech Republic-based forward Edin Džeko alone in attack. Against the run of play they managed to conjure an equaliser in the 54th minute though - Salihovič levelling with a free-kick from 25 metres.
Hubník, however, ensured his team would take an advantage to Sarajevo with 20 minutes remaining. The defender profited after Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Zdenko Baotić could only parry Daniel Pudil's free-kick, turning in the rebound from close range. Ladislav Škorpil's men also came close to a third goal four minutes from time when Michal Papadopulos headed against the crossbar, leaving both sides hopeful of progressing to the Netherlands next year.