Euro 2012 qual. - Scotland held by Czechs

Sat, 03 Sep 16:51:00 2011

Michal Kadlec drove home a last-minute penalty as Scotland were held to a 2-2 draw by Czech Republic after a fraught Euro 2012 qualifer at Hampden Park.

Scotland - 0

The game came to life in the final 12 minutes as Jarsolav Plasil cancelled out Kenny Miller's opening goal on 78 minutes before Darren Fletcher seemed to have handed the home side the win when he netted from Miller's delightful pass five minutes later.

Scotland's hopes were dashed when substitute Danny Wilson was deemed to have fouled Jan Rezek in the box before Kadlec stepped up to slam the ball into the net for the equaliser with Allan McGregor given no chance as the ball went straight down the middle with some venom.

Replays seemed to show that Rezek had dived without any contact, but there was time for more drama a minute into three minutes of time added on as Christophe Berra went to ground under pressure from Roman Hubnik.

It looked like a foul, but the Dutch referee Kevin Blom - who somehow managed to caution nine players in a match - booked Berra for diving as the game petered out. It was difficult not to feel sorry for Scotland manager Craig Levein, who blamed the draw on the referee and his erratic decision-making.

In truth, the visitors were worthy of at least a draw having pinned the Scots back for large swathes of the first half. Scotland paid the price for sitting too deep in the second period and inviting the visitors on to them.

Scotland's hopes of reaching the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year now hang in the balance with the Czechs five points ahead of them in second spot in Group I. Scotland have one game in hand, and know they will close to within two points of the Czechs if they beat Lithuania at home on Tuesday.

Wins against Lithuania and Liechtenstein in their next two matches may yet be enough for Scotland to snag second spot in the section with the Czech side hosting Spain and visiting Lithuania in their closing matches of the section next month.

Scotland may yet need to take something from their final group match in Spain if they are to claim a play-off place from the section. They will look back at this afternoon with a mixture of bitterness and regret.

Scotland could have been two goals behind at the break as Milan Baros slammed a shot over the bar when it looked easier to score on six minutes before Jan Rajnoch - who slipped in the build-up to Scotland's second goal - headed wide from Tomas Rosicky's corner moments later.

Charlie Adam was also fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty when he was late on Baros before Miller slammed the ball through Czech keeper Jan Lastuvka to hand Scotland an unlikely lead.

Scotland were forced to play on the counter attack in the second half with Fletcher leading from the front upon his return to action. Miller almost converted James Morrison's cross on 67 minutes, but the home attacks were few and far between in the second 45 minutes.

Baros screwed a shot wide of the goal on 47 minutes when he should have scored while Hubnik's control let him down on 66 minutes from a header by Tomas Sivok when he seemed set to score from five yards.

The visiting side deservedly levelled when Plasil bundled the ball over the line before the mayhem of the closing minutes that prompted widespread heartache among the home supporters with the poor performance of the referee the main topic for discussion.

Eurosport

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