Czech Republic reach finals
Victory away to Montenegro secures place in Euro 2012
Last Updated: November 15, 2011 11:10pm
Petr Jiracek: Netted only goal of the game
Czech Republic secured a narrow win away to Montenegro to ensure they progressed through to the Euro 2012 finals.
Petr Jiracek scored the only goal of the second leg in the 81st minute to give them a 3-0 win on aggregate in their qualifying play-off.
The Czechs won the first leg 2-0 in Prague on Friday with goals from Vaclav Pilar and Tomas Sivok and were always the favourites to secure a berth at Poland and Ukraine.
There were several chances for both sides throughout the game but both teams struggled to convert their scoring opportunities.
Montenegro had the first real chance of the match when Mirko Vucinic was fouled by Roman Hubnik, allowing Nikola Drincic to step up for a free-kick.
Drincic fired in a cross but it was easily dealt with by Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Czech midfielder Jan Rezek then tried his luck at the other end in the seventh minute but his 30-yard shot missed the left post.
The Montenegro defence was then tested twice in quick succession by Tomas Rosicky but it stood up to the challenge and was able to deny the Arsenal midfielder.
Rosicky's cross was cleared by Stefan Savic before he delivered a corner which was caught by goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic.
The midfielder fired in another corner two minutes later to the centre of the area but this time it was cleared by Vucinic
Neither side was able to take a grip on the game and the next chance came just before half hour when Montenegro's Vladimir Bozovic saw his cross cleared by Tomas Sivok.
There were no other real clear-cut chances before the break and the sides remained deadlocked at 0-0 going into half-time.
In the second half, Montenegro striker Vucinic had an early chance when his 25-yard strike was blocked by Rezek.
The clearance handed the home side another corner and Drincic fired it to the middle of the area where the threat was neutralised by Tomas Sivok who cleared it to safety.
Montenegro striker Dejan Damjanovic almost found the opener in the 50th minute when his strike from the right of the area was tipped around the post by Chelsea keeper Cech.
Vucinic then went close at the other end four minutes later when his close-range header flew over the bar.
Montenegro continued to push forward in search of a much-need goal, with Vucinic's 71st minute strike was parried by Cech before the keeper made another save when he tipped Vucinic's follow-up shot round the post.
However, it was the Czech Republic who scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game when Zdenek Pospech fired a pass to Jiracek, who fired into the bottom-left corner of the goal from the right side of the area.
Vucinic had a late shot fly over the bar as Montenegro failed to score, allowing the Czech Republic passage to the finals.
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|2||Republic of Ireland||10||21|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I