Czechs beat Serbia to reach final for first time

Czech Republic 4-2 Serbia
Early goals from Tomáš Přikryl, Tomáš Kalas and Tomáš Jeleček, and Jiří Skalák's late effort, proved enough despite Serbia's spirited fightback.

The Czech Republic will play in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final for the first time after seeing off Serbia's spirited fightback in a breathless semi-final.

Jaroslav Hřebík's Czech team had won their previous five games and were three goals to the good through Tomáš Přikryl, Tomáš Kalas and Tomáš Jeleček – the latter a penalty – before 20 minutes had been played. Djordje Despotović's quickfire double brought Serbia back into the contest by the 28th minute, but Jiří Skalák sealed the result late on.

The Czechs had played – and won – their two previous games in Mogosoaia and, though Despotović and Nenad Lukić threatened their goal in the opening moments, within six minutes they were back in the groove. Přikryl exchanged passes with Patrik Lácha and outstripped the Serbia defence to calmly slot past Nikola Perić.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Serbia left Jakub Brabec unmarked to meet Adam Jánoš' left-wing cross and, though Perić saved his header, Kalas reacted quickest to slam in the rebound. The goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his net for a third time in the 19th minute after Přikryl was felled by Darko Brašanac and Jeleček calmly placed the penalty just inside the right-hand post.

If the Czechs thought they had the game won, however, they were in for a rude awakening, and by the 28th minute the Serbian deficit was down to one goal. Despotović was the instigator of the comeback, racing on to a quick free-kick to thump high into the net before supplying an equally emphatic finish to Filip Malbašić's low left-wing cross five minutes later.

Not surprisingly the pace of the game dropped thereafter, although both teams had further chances before half-time and Jánoš could have had a fourth for the Czechs, sliding his shot from Jeleček's low cross past the post.

With tiredness setting in Perić nearly fumbled in another shot from the Czech midfielder before finally beaten once more in added time, substitute Skalák slotting in Přikryl's cross to confirm his side's progress.

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