The Czech Republic finished their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B campaign on a high, beating Bulgaria in Sofia to come third in the section.
Bulgaria had begun the day second in the standings with hopes of a play-off place, but Bořek Dočkal's second-half goal was enough for an away win. Petar Zanev saw red for Luboslav Penev's men, leaving them with too much to do, and they wound up in fourth position behind Italy, Denmark and their Czech conquerors.
Needing goals to maintain their finals dream, Bulgaria opted for an offensive lineup with forward Ventsislav Hristov thrown in for a first start to add extra weight in attack. However, it was Josef Pesice's team who showed more threat as Libor Kozák drove over before Bulgarian keeper Vladislav Stoyanov was forced to deny Petr Jiráček at point-blank range. Kozák also struck a post with a header just before the midway point.
Things looked more promising for the home side in the second period as Dimitar Rangelov's effort was kept out by Petr Čech. Yet in the 52nd minute Dočkal's low shot from 25 metres found a way past Stoyanov after a swift counter. There would be no way back for Bulgaria and Zanev received a second yellow card on 76 minutes, enabling the Czechs to see out the victory and move above their hosts in the final reckoning.