UEFA Nations League, League B, Group 2
Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland
Monday, 7 September 2020, kick-off 7:45pm (UK time)
Andrův stadium, Olomouc
Czech Republic: Pesek (12')
Scotland: Dykes (27'), Christie (52' pen)
Scotland came from behind to win 2-1 away to Czech Republic to put us top of Group B2 in the UEFA Nations League.
Steve Clarke named five changes from Friday’s encounter with Israel, replacing James Forrest, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, Ryan Jack and John McGinn with Liam Palmer, Liam Cooper, Kenny McLean, John Fleck and Stuart Armstrong.
The hosts, meanwhile, named an entirely new squad from their victory over Slovakia.
As It Happened
It was the fresh faced Czech’s who started the stronger of the two teams, with a lively opening ten minutes rewarded with an opening goal from Jakub Pesek. A delicately threaded ball from Slavia Prague’s Stanislav Tecl picked out the clever run from the midfielder, who produced a deft finish to beat David Marshall in the Scotland goal.
Just three minutes later, Pesek nearly grabbed himself a second when he curled a fine effort from range towards the top corner, only to be matched by an outstretched Marshall who tipped the ball round the post.
That sparked a response from Clarke’s men however, who began to dominate the ball and nearly pulled level midway through the first half.
Palmer collected the ball high on the right flank before smashing the ball across the face of goal, which was well kept in by Ryan Christie. The Celtic midfielder then struck a shot from a tight angle and Mandous had to make a smart save to keep the score level.
Three minutes later, the Scots pulled level and it was courtesy of a first Scotland goal for Lyndon Dykes in just his second game for his country. It was a terrifically worked goal, starting with a searching ball to pick out Palmer high on the right flank. The Sheffield Wednesday defender fizzed a low ball towards the darting run of Dykes, who thumped it in to the roof of the net from close range.
Lyndon Dykes is off the mark for Scotland! 🏴— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 7, 2020
He equalised for Scotland against Czech Republic in tonight's clash - watch the second-half live on Sky Sports Football now! pic.twitter.com/Aun3lzMFuK
Clarke’s side came out firing in the second half and soon had a second, when a clipped ball down the left picked out the marauding run of Andy Robertson, who drove in to the box before being bundled to the deck by Tomas Malinsky. The referee pointed straight to the spot, flashed a yellow card and offered Ryan Christie a chance to grab a second goal from the spot in consecutive games. He made no mistake, firing low in to the bottom right corner beyond the fingertips of Czech stopper Ales Mandous.
The hosts won themselves a free kick in a dangerous area just minutes later and nearly produced the perfect response to falling behind.
In a dangerous position - just outside the box following McTominay’s grapple with a Czech attacker - Marek Havlik blasted it low around the wall and narrowly wide.
In the 64th minute, a loose ball was collected by Christie on the half way line who carried it towards the edge of the Czech box. A tangle between players thwarted the move and left Dykes in pain on the deck, who was then replaced by Callum Paterson.
A glorious opportunity fell kindly for the hosts shortly after, when a fantastic David Marshall save kept Pesek from grabbing a second. The loose ball couldn’t be turned in to the gaping net by the arriving Tecl, who scuffed his effort off target.
The home side continued to knock on the door in search of an equaliser, and went close in the 72nd minute. Central defender Vaclav Jemelka found himself on the edge of the Scotland box following a swift Czech counter, but he couldn’t keep his effort down and fired narrowly over the bar.
With ten minutes remaining in Olomouc, substitute Paterson went inches from doubling Scotland’s lead when he raced on to a ball in behind the Czech defence and laced a low effort narrowly past the far post.
The Czech Republic continued to search for an equaliser late on. Rusek’s header hit the base of the post from one of several corners. That was as close as it would come as Scotland held on for a 2-1 win.
Up next for Scotland is a home triple-header in October. Up first is Israel in our UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Semi-Final before welcoming Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Hampden.
Czech Republic: Mandous, Holes, Hubnik, Jemelka, Zeleny, Janos, Havlik (Rusek, 81), Malinsky, Budinsky (Breite, 55), Pesek (Potocny, 76), Tecl
Unused substitutes: Nguyen, Juroska, Karafiat, Karabec, Holzer, Solil, Gabriel, Markovic, Sip
Scotland: Marshall, McTominay, McKenna, Cooper, Robertson (C), Palmer, Armstrong (McGregor, 80), McLean, Fleck (McGinn, 71), Dykes (Paterson, 67), Christie.
Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, McCrorie, Tierney, Gallagher, Taylor, O'Donnell, Forrest, Jack, Burke