Czech Republic plans to celebrate last month's UEFA EURO 2016 qualification in front of their home fans were spoiled by a Turkey team with their own qualifying agenda as Fatih Terim's men won 2-0 in Prague on Saturday night.
Second-half goals from Selçuk İnan, with a penalty, and Hakan Çalhanoğlu sufficed for Turkey to regain third place – which the Netherlands had briefly occupied after their earlier victory in Kazakhstan – and move within a point of clinching the play-off berth behind the already qualified Icelanders and Czechs in Group A. Turkey just need a point now from Tuesday's final qualifier at home to Iceland.
Pavel Vrba's hosts, whose own qualification was secured in Latvia, resisted a lively Turkish opening and both sides soon settled to play one-touch passing football through midfield. Yet despite long-range efforts from Vladimír Darida and Arda Turan, the best chance of the first half arrived as late as the 42nd minute. Josef Šural got on the end of a Pavel Kadeřábek cross but failed to time his header which sailed high and wide.
The eventual breakthrough came 17 minutes into the second period. Filip Novák, a first-time starter for the Czechs, brought down Serdar Aziz and Selçuk beat Czech custodian Tomáš Vaclík from the spot with a low strike into the bottom corner.
Selçuk might have added a second after breaking into the penalty box, the midfielder seeing his drilled attempt hit a post. No matter, as the clinching goal finally arrived in the 79th minute when Hakan's cross-shot after a pass from Arda flew into the net.
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