Kadlec and Rezek sweep Czechs into play-offs
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Lithuania 1-4 Czech Republic
The visitors reached the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs after a comfortable win in Kaunas lifted them into second place in Group I at the expense of Scotland.
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Two Michal Kadlec penalties either side of Jan Rezek's double strike helped the Czech Republic pip Scotland to the runners-up spot in Group I – and a place in the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs – with an emphatic victory against Lithuania.
The visitors took the lead after just two minutes when Kadlec scored a penalty after Milan Baroš had been felled in the area, before Rezek made it 2-0 on 16 minutes. Rezek then added a third with a diving header just before the break and though Darvydas Šernas scored a consolation penalty for the hosts after being fouled by Roman Hubník, who was sent off for his troubles, Kadlec restored the Czechs' three-goal advantage with another spot kick five minutes from time.
The spectators in the Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas had barely settled into their seats when Baroš was held back by Andrius Skerla enabling Kadlec to put the Czechs ahead. In an eventful opening spell, Šernas might have equalised for the hosts moments later after bursting into the area, but the Lithuania striker was denied by the alert Petr Čech.
The miss would prove costly as Baroš unwittingly set up another goal, the striker's shot coming back off the far post with Rezek on hand to fire into the roof of the net. Baroš came close again midway through the half when he fired wide after being set up by a clever free-kick, while at the other end Petr Jiraček made a vital block to deny Robertas Poškus. But on the stroke of half-time Michal Bílek's men effectively made the match safe when Jaroslav Plašil‘s lofted through ball was headed in by Rezek.
Baroš continued to threaten after the break, flicking an effort narrowly wide of the post early in the second period, but Lithuania scored next, Šernas racing clear of Hubník, who brought his opponent down, thereby earning himself a red card. Lithuania's top scorer took the penalty himself, but despite their one-man advantage Raimondas Žutautas's side were unable to further trouble their opponents, who scored again late on after Radavičius was adjudged to have brought down substitute Tomáš Pekhart.
Kadlec clinically scored his second spot-kick to seal the visitors' victory and send the Czech Republic into the play-offs courtesy of the combination of their victory and Scotland's 3-1 defeat in Spain.