November 14, 2019 / 10:03 PM / 3 months ago

Czechs clinch Euro 2020 spot with 2-1 win over Kosovo

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group A - Czech Republic v Kosovo - Doosan Arena, Plzen, Czech Republic - November 14, 2019 Czech Republic's Alex Kral celebrates their second goal scored by Ondrej Celustka REUTERS/David W Cerny

PLZEN, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Czech Republic punched their ticket to Euro 2020 by coming from behind to beat Kosovo 2-1 as Alex Kral scored one goal and set up another to give the hosts second spot in Group A on Thursday.

The Czechs dominated possession but failed to convert their chances in the first half before falling behind when striker Atdhe Nuhiu scored against the run of play in the 50th minute.

But the home side roared back and levelled in the 71st minute when midfielder Kral pounced on a loose ball and unleashed a fierce strike that gave the Kosovo keeper no chance.

The goal energised the Czechs who hit the woodwork twice in quick succession before 21-year-old Kral directed a header towards Ondrej Celustka who guided the ball home in the 79th.

“It’s awesome,” Kral said. “We worked to qualify and it’s done. We reacted well to the Kosovo goal and now we’re through.”

The Czechs, who play Bulgaria on Sunday, have 15 points and will finish second in the group behind England who have 18 after thrashing Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley to secure runners-up spot.

Reporting by Michael Kahn; Additional reporting by Robert Mueller; Editing by Ken Ferris

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