Interim Czech Republic boss Josef Pešice admitted it was easier than expected after a 4-1 victory in Malta kept alive their chances of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup from Group B.
A lovely goal from Tomáš Hübschman inside three minutes set the visitors on course for an impressive debut win for their coach. David Lafata, Václav Kadlec and Tomáš Pekhart were also on target although Michael Mifsud, earning his 100th cap, gave the hosts something to shout about just after the restart. The result revived the Czechs' qualification hopes, lifting them onto 12 points, level with Armenia, and one behind both Bulgaria and Denmark on 13.
"I didn't expect to win with such an easy scoreline in Malta," said Pešice, who has replaced coach Michal Bílek for the final two qualifiers. "We scored an early goal which was quite an advantage." It came in some style too, from Hübschman, and when Lafata doubled the lead on 34 minutes the game looked to be up for Group B's basement side.
Mifsud had other ideas and marked his landmark appearance with a 38th international goal, chipping over Petr Čech. Home fervour lasted all of four minutes, however, as clumsy errors at the back allowed Kadlec to make it 3-1 and substitute Pekhart sealed matters on 90 minutes. "How can we concede such goals after Mifsud got us back on track?" asked Malta coach Pietro Ghedin. "I am very disappointed."