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Lacha helps send Czechs to finals

Czech Republic 2-1 Israel
Midfielder Patrik Lacha scored one and set up the other as the Group 5 hosts battled their way into the final tournament.

The Czech Republic celebrate reaching the U19 finals with victory against Israel
The Czech Republic celebrate reaching the U19 finals with victory against Israel ©Jan Tauber

Group 5 hosts the Czech Republic completed a quick turnaround in Breclav to overcome Israel and snatch a place in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship from Russia.

All seemed to be lost for Jaroslav Hřebík's men after Russia equalised in their game against the Netherlands to return to the top of the section early in the second half. Things went from bad to worse for the section hosts when Munas Dabbur put Israel ahead on 72 minutes, but Patrik Lacha responded almost immediately to make it 1-1 and then set up Martin Sladký for the Czechs' winner eight minutes from time.

Irsael goalkeeper Barak Levy denied both Vojtěch Hadaščok and Pavel Kadeřábek from close range in the first half, but the Czechs had a let-off on the hour when Dabbur missed from five metres having met the lively Amir Agajev's cross from the left. However, the striker made amends by converting an Eliran George delivery from the opposite flank.

The home side swiftly rallied, and FK Teplice midfielder Lacha brought them level before setting up FK Viktoria Plzeň's Sladký to win the game and book the team's passage to this summer's finals in Romania.

"We fought, played a team game and concentrated," said Czech coach Hřebík. "Israel played the better football but unfortunately for them they lost. We have progressed, so obviously we feel very good."