Czech Republic strikes early, beats Greece 2-1 in Group A at Euro 2012
Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar both scored in the first six minutes vs. Greece
After taking an early lead, the Czech Republic held on to claim a 2-1 victory
Substitute Fanis Gekas scored the only goal for Greece during the 53rd minute
|Final :: Wroclaw, Poland|
WROCLAW, Poland (AP) -- Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scored in the first six minutes to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Greece on Tuesday at the European Championship.
Jiracek shot the ball past Greece goalkeeper Costas Chalkias in the third minute after a pass from Tomas Hubschmann sliced through the Greek defense. Three minutes later, Pilar scored his second goal of the tournament, beating Greek defenders to a ball sent across the goal by Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie.
Substitute Fanis Gekas pulled one back for Greece in 53rd minute with a tap in after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech spilled the ball and bumped into defender Tomas Sivok.
The Greeks, who played the Group A match without two key central defenders, nearly scored another in the 41st, but the header from Giorgos Fotakis was called back for offside.
The Greeks recovered well after their disastrous start, but lost another player when Chalkias limped off the field in the 23rd minute. He was replaced by Michalis Sifakis.
Despite the defensive problems, Greece coach Fernando Santos stuck with his attacking lineup of three forwards. The strategy helped the Greeks dominate the second half.
Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky came off with a foot injury in the second half.
The Czech fans booed coach Michal Bilek at the start of the match, but the team rebounded from its opening 4-1 loss to Russia in Group A. The Czechs also avenged their semifinal loss to Greece at Euro 2004.
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