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2016 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage 2016
  • Vaclav Pilar (90')
  • Aleksejs Visnakovs (30')

Vaclav Pilar's salvages draw for Czech Republic against Latvia

Vaclav Pilar's last-minute equaliser saw Czech Republic snatch a point as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Latvia in European Championships qualifying Group A in Prague on Saturday.

Aleksejs Visnakovs' 30th minute-goal had put Latvia on course for their first victory in the group stages before Pilar was in the right place to turn in a rebound moments before the final whistle.

The Czechs, who had started the day three points clear at the top, are now just one ahead of Iceland after they took a 3-0 victory against Kazakhstan in Astana.

Latvia had looked to be on course for a deserved victory after they were well-disciplined in defence and survived two testing corner kicks late in the first half.

That could not be said for the hosts, though, as a wasted free-kick at the other end of the pitch ended up leading to Latvia's goal after Arturs Zjuzins picked up the ball and played in a pass to Visnakovs, who had plenty of time to place his low shot beyond Petr Cech.

It was Latvia's first goal in their qualifying campaign from open play and it put the Czechs on the back foot, with their bid to get back on level terms slowed by imprecise passing, much to the displeasure of the whistling home crowd.

The second-half was more entertaining, though. First David Lafata forced a brilliant save from Latvia goalkeeper Andris Vanins in the 62nd minute with a header from the middle of the area shortly before Cech saved a 20-yard strike from Deniss Rakels at the other end.

It looked as if Latvia were going to hold on for their first win of their qualifying campaign until a through ball from Vladimir Darida played Vaclav Prochazka into the area, who saw his shot saved by Vanins.

However, substitute Pilar was in the right place to turn in the rebound to the relief of the home side.