14.10.2019 21:01 h

McNair brace takes Northern Ireland past Czechs in friendly

Paddy McNair scored twice to give Northern Ireland a confidence booster ahead of crunch Euro 2020 qualifiers as they edged past the Czech Republic 3-2 in a friendly in Prague on Monday.

The Middlesbrough midfielder opened the score nine minutes into the game, intercepting a Czech pass and beating keeper Jiri Pavlenka with a low left-footer.

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans made it 2-0 on 23 minutes with a rebound as the Czech defence took too long to clear the ball following a corner.

McNair added another from a break five minutes before halftime, sprinting down the centre and rounding Pavlenka to score into an empty net.

The Czechs had made ten changes to the line-up that started last Friday's 2-1 win over England in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

They improved following four substitutions at halftime and put the visitors under heavy pressure and scored twice midway through the second half.

Vladimir Darida slammed home a pass by striker Zdenek Ondrasek, who had sunk England with an 85th-minute goal on Friday. Alex Kral added a second following a superb mazy run down the centre to round off the score.

Sitting third in Group C, Northern Ireland host the Netherlands on November 16 before facing Germany away three days later.

They trail both rivals by three points. All three have two games to play.

The Czechs next face Kosovo at home before playing their final qualifier in Bulgaria.