Czech Republic 3 Scotland 1: Burley tastes first defeat as Scots fall to Sionko double
Saturday 31 May 2008
Scotland lost their first match under George Burley as the Czech Republic warmed up for the European Championships with a comfortable win.
Substitute David Clarkson marked his debut with a goal but it was not enough as former Rangers midfielder Libor Sionko scored twice and Michal Kadlec was also on target.
The Scotland captain, Stephen McManus, said: "We did well especially in the first half, we kept the ball very well and the Scotland fans can be proud in the way we played. I think the scoreline was flattering but a lot of the lads have had a long season so it was going to be a test to play in this heat against a good side."
This was Burley's first away game and he always knew it would be a tough test against a country ranked sixth in the world. Like the Scotland manager's debut, a 1-1 draw against Croatia in March, the build-up to this match had been overshadowed by withdrawals, with six pulling out of the squad.
James McFadden and Alan Hutton both sustained injuries with Birmingham and Tottenham respectively, and Rangers duo Steven Whittaker and Kevin Thomson were quickly added to the casualty list. Kris Boyd and Steven Fletcher checked in at the national team's Cameron House base in Loch Lomond earlier in the week but also cried off with injuries. That left just 18 fit players to make the trip.
Following a goalless first half, the Czechs took the lead with an hour gone. Sionko gathered Zdenek Pospech's pass on his chest before firing home from just a few yards out.
The home side scored again after 84 minutes when Kadlec, once linked with a move to Celtic, rifled low into the net before Scotland pulled a goal back a minute later. Gary Naysmith was the provider and Clarkson deftly switched from his right to his left foot and fired past Petr Cech.
Sionko then claimed his second of the game with a minute to go when he looped a shot over Craig Gordon.
Goals: Sionko (60) 1-0; Kadlec (84) 2-0; Clarkson (85) 2-1; Sionko (90) 3-1
Czech Republic (4-4-2): Cech; Pospech (Sivok, 74), Ujfalusi (Rozehnal, h-t), Kovac, Jankulovski (Kadlec, h-t); Sionko, Polak, Matejovsky (Jarolim, h-t), Galasek; Skacel (Plasil, h-t), Koller (Sverkos, h-t).
Scotland (4-5-1): Gordon; McNaughton (Berra, 90), Naysmith, McManus (Dailly, 57), Caldwell; Hartley, Fletcher, Rae (Clarkson, 71), Robson (McCormack, 82), Morrison (Maloney, 68); Miller.
Referee: E Braamhaar (Netherlands)
Justin Bieber was one of the hardest hit
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