Wednesday 16 October 2019

Iceland on brink after Czech victory

Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scores his side's winning goal past Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech
Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scores his side's winning goal past Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech

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Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored a sublime winner as Iceland completed a superb comeback to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 and go top of Group A in their Euro 2016 qualifier in Reykjavik.

The home side dominated the game with their physical play, but Borek Dockal gave the Czech Republic the lead 10 minutes into the second half, thumping home a rising right-foot shot into the top-left corner after he was teed up by Tomas Necid.

Jolted into life, Iceland equalised five minutes later when Aron Gunnarsson dived to head home, and when Sigthorsson danced around Petr Cech and slotted the winner in the 76th minute, the home crowd went wild.

The result puts Iceland within touching distance of qualifying for their first major tournament, as they now top the group on 15 points after six games, with the Czechs in second place on 13.

Elsewhere, Croatia and Italy stayed on course for qualification after a pulsating 1-1 draw in their Group H qualifier played behind closed doors at the Poljud stadium.

Fans were not allowed into the ground after the Croatians were handed a one-match crowd ban for repeated offences by their supporters earlier in the campaign.

Croatia fans shouted racist chants during a 5-1 home win over Norway in March which followed incidents in last November’s 1-1 draw with Italy in Milan, when they twice halted play by hurling flares on to the pitch.

The result left Croatia top with 14 points from six games, two more than Italy who stretched their unbeaten run in European Championship and World Cup qualifying to 46 games.

Turkey were forced to fight for a 1-0 win away to bottom side Kazakhstan thanks to a late Arda Turan strike in their Group A game.

Also in Group A, PSV Eindhoven team-mates Georginio Wijnaldum and Luciano Narsingh scored second-half goals as the Netherlands beat Latvia 2-0.

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