Czechs maintain momentum with Belarus win

Czech Republic 2-0 Belarus
Tomáš Pekhart and new boy Zdeněk Šmejkal earned the Czechs a sixth straight win against their fellow U21 Championship finalists.

Tomáš Pekhart continued his great goalscoring form against Belarus
Tomáš Pekhart continued his great goalscoring form against Belarus ©

Czech Republic 2-0 Belarus
The Czech Republic made it six wins in a row by defeating fellow UEFA European Under-21 Championship finalists Belarus in a friendly in Uherske Hradiste on Friday.

Tomáš Pekhart, the nine-goal top scorer in qualifying for the Denmark finals, broke the deadlock after 29 minutes by beating Belarus goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor from the penalty spot after Denis Polyakov's foul on Bořek Dočkal. The AC Sparta Praha forward is his country's leading scorer at this level and now has 16 goals to his name. FC Baník Ostrava defender Zdeněk Šmejkal then marked his U21 debut by adding a second five minutes after the break from a cross by Ondřej Čelůstka.

The Czechs were missing four key players, called up by Michal Bílek to the senior squad to face Spain, but their replacements – including Šmejkal and goalkeeper Jan Hanuš, making his third U21 appearance – did well. Belarus were without their leading forward Vladimir Yurchenko, drafted into the senior squad against Albania, but still had chances, notably when Stanislav Dragun struck the bar in the 72nd minute.

The Czech U21s are now are unbeaten in 16 matches since losing 2-0 to England in October 2008. France will be the next team to try to spoil that sequence when the teams meet in Olomouc next Tuesday.