PRAGUE, Sept 10, (RTRS): The Czech Republic snatched a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Netherlands thanks to Vaclav Pilar’s added time goal after a dreadful mistake by Daryl Janmaat in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier. Defender Janmaat attempted to cushion a header back to Jasper Cillessen inside the area but it beat the Dutch keeper and struck the post only for Pilar to tuck the rebound into the net to the delight of the home fans watching the Group A clash.
“Three to five minutes before the end of the game, I would have taken a draw,” said Czech Coach Pavel Vrba. “All my players tackled well and gave good indvidual performances. I can’t single anybody out because it wouldn’t be fair to the others.” The Czechs had started brightly and were rewarded in the 22nd minute when David Lafata controlled a cross into the box before laying it off to Borek Dockal whose left-foot shot slammed off the post into the net to give the hosts the lead.
The Dutch, third-place finishers at the World Cup in Brazil, responded with a Stefan de Vrij driving a header into the back of the net after a cross from Daley Blind in the 55th minute. The Czechs kept their shape at the start in an effort to blunt a Dutch attack missing several key players, including Arjen Robben who was out with an ankle injury. The Dutch, who finished third at the World Cup, began taking more control in the second half but they could not beat Czech keeper Petr Cech for a winner as both sides pressed forward.
The Czechs, who have been struggling in recent matches, always looked dangerous on the break and scored when the Dutch mix up gave them a dream start to their campaign. The result also gave Vrba, who took over following their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, his first victory at the helm. The match was Guus Hiddink’s first competitive game in charge since his return to the national side after Louis van Gaal stepped down to take charge of Manchester United.
The coach bemoaned the mistakes that led to the winning goal and said the loss of Robben deprived the Dutch of the ability to really pressure the Czechs on the wings. “The Czechs played well,” Hiddink said. “We have to learn our lesson but it is too soon to analyse what happened. It (the winner) was an unlucky goal but the system doesn’t matter if you make individual mistakes.” The loss made Hiddink the first Dutch national manager to lose his first two games since his previous reign in 1995.
In zenica, Bosnia, Striker Dimitris Cristofi scored twice against the run of play to give unfancied Cyprus a smash-and-grab 2-1 win at Bosnia, who missed a late penalty in their Euro 2016 Group B qualifier on Tuesday. The result was a disappointing start as captain for Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko after he took over the armband from Emir Spahic, who retired from international football following the 2014 World Cup.
Bosnia seemed to be cruising after a Vedad Ibisevic header gave them an early lead, as the home team dominated and spurned several chances in front of a passionate home crowd in Zenica. Those near misses cost Bosnia dearly as Cristofi beat the home team’s keeper Asmir Begovic when he headed home an inviting cross from the left on the stroke of halftime.
Roared on by their fans, Bosnia laid siege to the Cyprus defence after the break but were again caught out at the other end, as Cristofi raced clear of Ermin Bicakcic and beat the advancing Begovic with a cool finish. Bosnia wasted a golden opportunity to equalise in the 89th minute when Miralem Pjanic’s weak penalty kick was saved by Antonis Giorgallides after Dzeko, who was booked several minutes earlier for dissent, was brought down.
“We didn’t deserve to win because we sat back on our 1-0 lead when we should have gone for the second,” Bosnia coach Safet Susic told the country’s BHT television. “We didn’t create too many clear-cut chances in the second half and having missed a late penalty, we can only congratulate Cyprus.” Dzeko added: “We started well but were rattled after conceding the equaliser out of the blue. It wasn’t our night and we may rue this defeat because tougher games are coming our way.”