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Spain labour to beat Czech in Euro 2016 Group D opener Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah

Spain labour to beat Czech in Euro 2016 Group D openerDefending champions Spain laboured to a 1-0 victory against Czech Republic in the opening Group D encounter of the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament.

It was a frustrating, yet entertaining performance for the champions, who gave everything in 87 minutes but had nothing to show for it, until a Gerard Pique header changed the story for the champions.

The goal was long in coming after many missed opportunities by Spain and many fantastic saves by Petr Cech. And when it came, it was sweet; a delicious cross from Iniesta and and towering header from Pique in what was a great Barcelona combination at international level.

Czech had a game plan; defend in numbers and try to get the champions on the break. It worked to perfection, even if it came with many desperate or belly ache defensive duties. 

The champions began their dominant performance early on but Petr Cech was up to his goal keeping duties. The Arsenal man denied Morata his first European championship goal in the quarter of an hour when he put his huge body frame in front of the Juventus striker who had connected a great cross from David Silva.

Cech again parried a goal bound shot in the 27th minute to keep Czech in the game.

Sergio Ramos chases fellow Spain defender Pique after the centre back headed home from inside the penalty area to win the match

In the 38th minute Andrea Iniesta attempted an audacious strike from 30 yards after Cech was caught out of position but the ball missed the target by inches.

A minute later, the Arsenal man showed courage when he prevented the nimble footed David Silva from opening the Spanish account.

The only attempt at goal from the Czech came on the stroke of half time and it was Tomas Necid who struck just on the edge of the 18-yard box with David De Gea having to grab the shot after a second attempt.

The Spanish will be thoroughly disappointed they went into the dugout with nothing to show for a commanding performance.

Morata's fails to score from close range as his effort heads straight towards the hands of the experienced former Chelsea keeper

The Spaniards began the second half the same way they ended the first and it was Alvaro Morata who nearly forced an own goal from the Czech defence man just a minute into the half.

Sergio Ramos nearly opened the scoring for the Champions but desperate piece of defending in a goal mouth melee stopped the Real Madrid man from jubilating.

Totally against the run of play, Czech nearly opened scoring in the 56th minute courtesy Roman Hubnik who  connected an inch perfect free-kick with an outstretched leg. The ball went agonizingly wide.

But it was Jordi Alba who should have broken the deadlock five minutes later when he was played through by Silva. With only Cech to beat, Alba’s first touch let him down, with the Czech defence men romping in to save a sticky situation.

The champions were desperate for a goal; a deserving one at that but Cech won’t allow them. The clock was ticking ominously towards  90 minutes but the Barca duo of Iniesta and Pique saved the blushes of the champions.

With three minutes to the end of the game, Iniesta curled in a lofty ball into the vital area like he would do at the Nou Camp and Pique soared above his marker to head home the goal of glory for the champions.

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