Přikryl goal sends Czech Republic into last four

Czech Republic 1-0 Greece
Tomáš Přikryl's wonderful second-half goal ensured Jaroslav Hřebík's team progressed as Group A winners and ended their opponents' tournament.

Czech Republic players celebrate reaching the semi-finals
Czech Republic players celebrate reaching the semi-finals ©Sportsfile

A memorable goal from Tomáš Přikryl ensured the Czech Republic overcame Greece in Mogosaia to reach the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals as the winners of Group A.

Greece were on top early on but the Czechs came back strongly in the second half of the opening period, yet the deadlock was not broken until the 70th minute. It proved worth the wait, though, Přikryl racing through the defence to score from an acute angle after tricking goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino and send the Czechs into the semi-finals for the fourth time.

Needing a point to progress, Jaroslav Hřebík's charges began cautiously. Greece seized the initiative, although a long-range Dimitris Kolovos effort that whistled too high was the best they could muster in the opening quarter-hour. Then Tomáš Koubek had to dive full length to push behind a fierce Kostas Fortounis drive after Greece's Matchday 2 hero had turned sharply on the edge of the penalty area, and the Czechs were roused.

Within 60 seconds Koubek's opposite number Kapino had raced from his line to gather Přikryl's deflected shot at the feet of Patrik Lácha, subsequently palming away Lácha's stinging drive as the Czech Republic sought the breakthrough. They were unable to find it, however, and as the second half unfolded were restricted to efforts from range, Pavel Kadeřábek and Přikryl both shooting straight at Kapino.

The goalkeeper then clawed away Ladislav Krejčí's attempt after a one-two with Tomáš Jeleček down the Czech left, before the goal finally arrived 20 minutes from time. Přikryl exchanged passes with Lácha to unlock the defence yet looked to have overrun the ball, only to reach it ahead of Kapino, cleverly round the keeper and roll into the net from a narrow angle with his other foot as he fell to the ground.

It was a goal worthy of securing a semi-final on Friday against the Group B runners-up, while Greece were left to reflect on what might have been after finishing third in the standings.

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