Substitute Schick earns Czechs 2-1 win over neighbours Slovakia

Patrik Schick came off the bench to score the Czech Republic’s winning goal. (AFP pic)

PRAGUE: A late header by substitute Patrik Schick gave the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over neighbouring Slovakia on Saturday and earned the visiting side their first points in the Nations League competition.

The Slovaks had squandered a slew of chances before the 22-year-old Roma forward broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when he headed into the top corner from captain Bořek Dočkal’s cross.

The goal came minutes after Schick had replaced Michael Krmenčík, who scored the first goal of the match after 52 minutes when he held off a marker and side-footed home following a through-ball from Dočkal.

The Slovaks responded minutes later when Marek Hamšík, who was winning his record 108th cap, smashed a rebound into an empty goal after Czech keeper Tomáš Vaclík did well to save an Adam Nemec header following a corner.

All the goals came after an even opening half in which Slovakia controlled possession but the Czechs had the best chance when Matěj Vydra’s volley from the edge of the box was cleared on to the post in the ninth minute.

The League B, Group 1 match also marked former national team assistant Jaroslav Šilhavý’s first game in charge of the Czech side since replacing Karel Jarolím following the team’s 5-1 defeat to Russia in a friendly in September.

Ukraine top the group after beating Slovakia 1-0 at home and coming from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory in the dying seconds over the Czech Republic away.