In a closely fought battle in Prague, two shock strikes from the Hungarians handed the Czechs a morale-sapping defeat in their final friendly before Poland and Ukraine
Czech Republic fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of a tenacious Hungary side in Prague, damaging their confidence ahead of their Euro 2012 assault.
Fresh from a 2-1 success over Israel, Czech Republic entered this friendly, their last on home soil before Euro 2012, knowing that a win would leave the home support with great expectations ahead of the impending finals.
Hungary started the game much the brighter team and took an unexpected, if not bizarre lead just six minutes into the game. Having been awarded a free-kick in a central position 20 yards from goal, quick-thinking midfield man Balazs Dzudzsak took advantage of a disorganised Czech defence. With Champions League-winning captain Petr Cech still lining up his wall, Dzudzsak side-footed the ball into the top left corner leaving the home side stunned.
It looked like the equaliser had arrived in the 14th minute with Vaclav Pilars’ lofted cutback from the left side of the area being converted into the bottom left corner by Jan Rezek, only for the referee to rule the goal out for an infringement against the defence in the build-up.
The hosts were now on the ascendancy and they began to dominate proceedings, eventually equalising in the 25th minute via a Michal Kadlec penalty, though they were more than fortunate to be awarded the spot-kick. Milan Baros was dispossessed by a fantastic last-ditch challenge by captain Roland Juhasz, only for the match officials to agree with the home fans and award a penalty. Ironically, Rezek was taken down inside the area by a definite foul challenge just before the break, but had his appeals waved away by the referee.
The sides went into half-time all square, with Hungary giving as good as they got, but a 70%-30% ball possession stat against them suggesting they may not last the distance.
The second half saw the expected changes in personnel and the first real chance arrived on the hour mark when a ricocheted cross required a fabulous full-stretch save by Adam Bogdan to prevent Hungary going behind.
The visitors' energy levels seemed to wilt and, although proving solid in defence, they offered little by the way of attacking potency. The home side became notably aware of the risk of injury and began to commit to less challenges. The combined effect of these two scenarios led to a dull conclusion to a spectacle that had started so brightly.
In the 88th minute and for the first time in the second half, Hungary broke the Czech back line and Adam Gyursco slotted home from the right side of the box into Cech's bottom right corner to provide the visitors with a worthy victory having battled throughout.
After tonight’s performance, Czech Republic's expectations may not be too high ahead of Saturday's opener against Russia.