2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Michal Krmencik (11')
  • Jaromir Zmrhal (47')
  • Joshua King (86')

Czech Republic hold off Norway for qualifying victory

The Czech Republic leapfrogged Norway into fifth place in World Cup European Qualifying Group C with a 2-1 victory in Prague.

Michael Krmencik opened the scoring in the 11th minute and Jaromir Zmrhal made the game safe at the Eden Arena two minutes after the interval before Joshua King hit a late consolation for the visitors.

The hosts made a bright start and Zmrhal fired a shot narrowly wide from just outside the box in the third minute and Ladislav Krejci saw an effort from distance blocked before the Czechs went ahead.

The hosts broke quickly out of their own half and Krejci played in Krmencik and he kept his composure to drill a right-footed effort beyond Rune Jarstein and into the net.

Stefan Johansen saw a shot from the edge of the area blocked before Jo Inge Berget dragged wide as Norway were restricted to efforts from distance.

The lively Berget saw another two efforts blocked as the hosts defended their slender lead with discipline.

And just before the break Krmencik headed over from Krejci's cross as the Czech's looked to double their lead.

And they did early in the second half when Zmrhal latched onto Borek Dockal's through ball to fire past Jarstein.

Moments later Jarstein had to be sharp to get down to keep out Pavel Kaderabek's header from Filip Novak's cross.

King pulled another shot wide as Norway struggled to make Tomas Vaclik work in the Czech goal.

Jarstein again saved well from Krejci to prevent him adding a third late on as he got on the end of another Novak cross.

And the visitors pulled one back with five minutes remaining when King latched onto the ball from a free-kick and drilled a right-footed shot past Vaclik.