Sisto strikes late as Danes defy Czechs
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark
Substitute Pione Sisto scavenged the 84th-minute winner as the host side let a half-time lead slip in the finals opener in Prague.
Article top media content
• Denmark come from behind to defeat hosts 2-1 in tournament curtain-raiser
• Pavel Kadeřábek gives the Czechs the lead ten minutes from break
• Jakob Busk Jensen double save before half-time keeps Denmark in it
• Jannik Vestergaard levels 11 minutes into second half; Pione Sisto claims 84th-minute winner
• Next matches: Germany v Denmark, Serbia v Czech Republic (20 June)
Denmark produced a much-improved second-half display to claim a 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship's opening game.
The hosts had not played a competitive fixture for more than two years, but looked far sharper than their opponents to begin with. Despite being only recently called into the squad, Jan Kliment looked comfortable at this level, significantly more so than the opposing defenders who struggled to contain the pacy and direct Jihlava man.
Czech coach Jakub Dovalil had promised to "surprise" Denmark from set-pieces, and Martin Frýdek almost did so, squeezing a shot through a forest of players. Pavel Kadeřábek made the breakthrough on 35 minutes, cutting inside from the right before firing beyond Jakob Busk Jensen to put the hosts ahead. Having signed for Hoffenheim earlier in the day, the Czech top flight's Player of the Year looked set for a dream day.
Denmark boss Jess Thorup had seen his plans forcibly altered by an injury to Frederik Sørensen, which perhaps explained his team's defensive frailty. They would have trailed by two at the interval but for Busk Jensen, whose stunning double save from Tomáš Přikryl and Frýdek kept the game in the balance.
Formidably clinical in qualifying, Denmark's cutting edge was perhaps blunted by the fitness concerns of Pierre Højbjerg with the Bayern man largely ineffectual. Thorup's men created few clear opportunities, but they controlled play in the second half, safe in the knowledge that Jannik Vestergaard's 56th-minute header would guarantee a point before substitute Pione Sisto opportunistically prodded home six minutes from time to leave the hosts empty-handed.