Euro Cup 2016: Pique's late minute header gives Spain victory over Czech Republic
Defending champions started their Euro Cup campaign with a late goal from Pique
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique's brilliant header give champions Spain a 1-0 win over fighting Czech Republic in their Group D encounter on Monday. Pique's goal came in the 84th minute from a superb cross from Andres Iniesta.
Vicente Del Bosque's team dominated most part of the game. Spain created many chances in the first half but Czech's goal keeper Petr Cech stood firm in front of the goal. Czech defenders also played a brilliant role by not allowing Spanish players any space to score inside the box.
Spain were frustrated throughout by the Czechs’ stubborn defensive game.
As usual Spain played their possession game with Iniesta in the middle. It took 16 minute for Spain to create their first chance. Right-back Juanfran sending David Silva through on the right flank for the Manchester City man to fire in a perfect delivery for Morata. However, Cech was quick enough to deny Alvaro Morata a chance to score.
A counter-attack by Czech captain Tomas Rosicky gave Tomas Necid the chance to test De Gea from the edge of the area but the ‘keeper saved comfortably.
A counter-attack involving Czech captain Tomas Rosicky gave Tomas Necid the chance to test De Gea from the edge of the area but the ‘keeper saved comfortably.
Spain created half chances in the first half through Iniesta and captain Sergio Ramos, but Cech denied a goal for them.
In the second, Czech came under more intense pressure. The Czech keeper desperately turned the deflection from a Morata pass around the post before blocking Ramos’s effort from inside the area from the resulting corner. In the other half Czech players threatened Spanish goalkeeper with some counter attacks and a Ladislav Krejci’s free kick from outside the area.
After Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz came on to replace the misfiring Morata. Meanwhile, Fabregas produced a spectacular overhead to kick to keep Theodor Gebre Selassi’s header out following a corner before he was replaced by Thiago Alcantara.
Substitute Aduriz’s first real touch came on 76th minutes but his spectacular overhead kick was wide of the target.
Spain finally made the breakthrough three minutes from the end with Pique's goal, but at the death they had Dea Gea to thank for keeping out a dangerous shot by Vladimir Darida.
Czechs play Croatia in Saint-Etienne on Friday while the defending champions meet Turkey in Nice on Saturday.