Ireland scores late to salvage 1-1 draw vs. Czechs

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DUBLIN (AP) -- Ireland salvaged a 1-1 friendly draw against fellow European Championship qualifier the Czech Republic on Wednesday when Simon Cox equalized with four minutes remaining.

The Czech Republic led through Milan Baros' 50th-minute goal, the striker collecting a pass from Jan Rezek and lifting the ball over advancing goalkeeper Shay Given.

Cox came on as a 71st-minute replacement for captain Robbie Keane to score.

The Czech Republic, which will be in a first-round group with co-host Poland, former champion Greece and Russia at the European Championship, dominated the home side in Dublin.

Ireland nearly got off to the perfect start inside the first minute when Shane Long headed Aiden McGeady's left-wing cross on goal, only for goalkeeper Petr Cech to save.

But the Czechs mostly passed confidently and patiently waited for gaps in the Irish defense to open up.

Rezek picked up possession and switched play to find the unmarked Baros, who drew Given forward before lifting the ball over him and into the net.

Ireland coach Giovani Trapattoni opted to use his substitutes and his side got back into the game when Cox ran onto Keith Andrews' pass, cut inside defender Tomas Sivok and side-footed past Cech from a tight angle.