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Pilař pounces as Czechs beat Netherlands

Czech Republic 2-1 Netherlands
Czech substitute Václav Pilař struck an opportunist winner in added time to settle the much-anticipated Group A opener.

Pilař pounces as Czechs beat Netherlands
Pilař pounces as Czechs beat Netherlands ©UEFA.com

Czech Republic substitute Václav Pilař hits the winner in the first of two added minutes
Bořek Dočkal volleys the Czech Republic in front in the first half
Stefan de Vrij equalises in a tight game seemingly heading for a draw
Petr Čech makes some vital saves before Pilař secures the points for the home side
Next fixtures: Turkey v Czech Republic, Netherlands v Kazakhstan (10 October)

Substitute Václav Pilař struck in added time to give the Czech Republic a dramatic UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group A win against the Netherlands.

The Czechs adopted a careful tactical formation to eliminate the attacking power of the Oranje, keeping Robin van Persie under tight control. And they went ahead on 22 minutes, Ladislav Krejčí sending a looping cross into the box for AC Sparta Praha club-mate David Lafata to control under pressure from Bruno Martins Indi. Lafata then turned the ball back to Bořek Dočkal, whose left-footed volley flew in off the post.

Guus Hiddink's visitors then stepped on the gas and began to put Petr Čech's goal under pressure. In the 26th minute Georginio Wijnaldum was not able to direct his shot on target, and just before the break Robin van Persie found substitute Luciano Narsingh, who lobbed Čech only for Lafata to clear off the line.

There was no let-up in the second half and soon the Netherlands’ efforts were rewarded. Daley Blind sent in a precise cross from the left and Stefan de Vrij headed in at the far post.

Both teams nearly won it with headers, Memphis Depay denied by Čech and Václav Procházka missing the target. But there was a sucker punch as Daryl Janmaat attempted to head back to Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, only to hit the post, where Pilař was waiting to tap into an empty net.

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