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Early Kadlec strike seals victory for Czech Republic

Wales 0-1 Czech Republic
Jakub Dovalil's visitors left Wrexham with all three points courtesy of Václav Kadlec's fifth-minute goal at The Racecourse Ground.

Marek Hanousek (right) challenges Ryan Doble
Marek Hanousek (right) challenges Ryan Doble ©FAW

A fifth-minute goal from Václav Kadlec was enough for the Czech Republic to defeat Wales and move level with Armenia at the top of qualifying Group 3.

Jakub Dovalil's side started the match one off the foot of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship section but ended it in second place thanks to Kadlec's early strike. Vladimir Darida's corner picked out the unmarked Marek Hanousek and his cushioned header fell to the feet of AC Sparta Praha man Kadlec, who scooped the ball over goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.

The Czechs almost doubled their advantage six minutes later, but Lukáš Hedja's fierce shot was brilliantly cleared off the line by Kieron Freeman. While the visitors clearly had the upper hand in the first half, it was not quite all one way traffic − Thomas Bradshaw forced Marek Štěch to tip his low drive around the post, Ryan Doble flashed a shot across goal, and Bradshaw failed keep his shot down.

While Kadlec then thumped another shot towards goal, which was parried by Maxwell, and Tomáš Kalas had an effort shortly before the interval, the early stages of the second half produced few chances of note.

Billy Bodin tested Štěch, but it was the visitors who looked more likely to provide the second goal, substitute Jan Chramosta's shot into the ground forcing Maxwell into a fine fingertip save. Wales pressed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages and were almost rewarded when Brown's looping header from Jake Howells' corner bounced off the crossbar.