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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 18:21 UK

Czech Republic 3-1 Scotland

By Clive Lindsay

Libor Sionko fires the opener past Craig Gordon
Sionko scored twice for Czech Republic at the AXA Arena

Former Rangers winger Libor Sionko scored twice as Czech Republic warmed up for Euro 2008 with a hard-earned and deserved victory over Scotland.

Sionko, who had a disappointing time at Ibrox before joining Copenhagen, stole into the box and slipped the ball past Craig Gordon after 60 minutes.

Michal Kadlec's drive put the Czechs further ahead before David Clarkson fired a reply on the turn on his debut.

But Sionko ended Scots hopes of a comeback by prodding in his second.

Sionko and Rudi Skacel, who played under Scotland manager George Burley at Hearts, had been given their chance to impress in the Prague friendly against some of their old Scottish Premier League foes.

Clarkson happy with goalscoring debut

And the pair combined early on as the Czechs pressed, with a last-ditch Gary Naysmith challenge denying Sionko as he was about to shoot.

Sionko was the provider as Jan Koller twice headed over from good positions in the six-yard box following dangerous crosses.

Scotland had their fair share of possession, but the appeals were half-hearted after a barge by Marek Jankulovski in the penalty box on Barry Robson, the Celtic midfielder making his first start for his country.

James Morrison, the West Brom former England youth winger making his long-awaited debut, was also involved but was wasteful when given the chance to deliver a good ball into the box on the break.

The Czechs squandered an even better chance after Gordon parried a Jan Polak piledriver.

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Jankulovski pounced on the rebound but rifled the ball into the side netting with Kolar waiting for a cut-back.

The Czechs made five changes at half-time and one of the new introductions, David Jarolim, had a drive blocked from close range.

Scotland, significantly depleted by injuries and the resting of key players, replied with a superb Morrison volley, struck from 20 yards out, that flashed a foot over the crossbar.

David Clarkson celebrates his goal
Clarkson scored on his Scotland debut in Prague

Morrison went even closer when picked out by a fine Kenny Miller through ball, the winger's stabbed effort from 12 yards being blocked for a corner by the feet of goalkeeper Petr Cech.

But, following a period of Czech pressure, Sionko burst into the box to put his side ahead after 60 minutes.

That inspired the home side and Gordon had to make another superb save, this time to deny Vaclav Sverkos.

Miller nutmegged Radoslav Kovac at the other end, but the striker curled the ball well over with only Cech to beat.

Kadlec, once linked with Celtic, fired into the far corner to put the Czechs further ahead after 83 minutes.

But Clarkson skilfully gathered in a cross, turned beautifully inside the box and drilled the ball home to give the Scots some late hope two minutes later.

However, after Clarkson's Motherwell team-mate, Ross McCormack, was handed his first cap, Sionko again broke into the box to stab the ball past Gordon in stoppage time.


Czech Republic: Cech, Pospech, Ujfalusi, Kovac, Jankulovski, Sionko, Polak, Matejovsky, Galasek, Skacel, Koller.
Subs: Blazek, Sivok, Grygera, Rozehnal, Kadlec, Plasil, Vlcek, Jarolim, Fenin, Sverkos, Baros, Zitka.

Scotland: Gordon, McNaughton, McManus, Caldwell, Naysmith, Robson, Hartley, Fletcher, Rae, Morrison, Miller.
Subs: Marshall, Anderson, Berra, Dailly, McCormack, Maloney, Clarkson.

Referee: Eric Braamhaar (Netherlands)




see also
Burley upbeat despite Czech loss
30 May 08 |  Internationals
Bruckner satisfied with Czech win
30 May 08 |  Czech Rep
Czech Rep-Scotland as it happened
30 May 08 |  Internationals
Scotland photo gallery
30 May 08 |  Internationals
Pundits' views on Scotland defeat
30 May 08 |  Internationals


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