In Sports News this Monday: Czech juniors beat Canada for the first time in almost 20 years, while defenseman is suspended after knocking down ref; Sparta lose to second-placed Hradec but remain eight points clear in Extraliga; and title-winning manager Komňacký returns to struggling Baník Ostrava.
Czech juniors beat Canada for first time in two decades at Worlds
The Czech under 20s had lost their opening game 5:1 to title holders the USA. However, they quickly put that setback behind them and performed far better against the Canadians, in large part due to goaltender Marek Langhammer, with the 19-year-old snuffing out chance after chance to help give the Czechs a 5:4 win on penalties. Following the sensational victory, Langhammer thanked his teammates – and questioned their rivals’ tactics.
“The guys must have had a good night’s sleep – and they played excellently in terms of tactics. Also I noticed in their previous game that the Canadians weren’t sure of their own game. They started losing the puck in the neutral zone and that was important to us. They didn’t stick to their game plan and we kept playing the same way. And in the end that paid off.”
The Czech juniors’ next game in Sweden is against Germany on Monday, with the result not due until after the recording of our programme.
In any case, they will be without Michal Plutnar against the Germans. The defenseman has been suspended for one match after knocking down a referee – he says accidentally – in the meeting with Canada.
Sparta eight points clear in Extraliga despite home defeat by Hradec
Here in the Czech Republic, Sparta Prague saw their lead cut at the top of domestic hockey’s Extraliga, when they were beaten 5:3 in the capital by second-placed Hradec Králové on Sunday. Nevertheless, with 33 rounds played, Sparta remain a full eight points in front.
Komňacký returns to struggling Ostrava
Baník Ostrava have brought back František Komňacký, the manager who led them to the Czech soccer league title in 2004. Ostrava are currently second from bottom and Komňacký says he believes fighting to stay in the top flight is harder than winning the title. The coach, whose last job was at Jihlava, told iDnes.cz he had been attracted back by Baník’s “tradition and history”.
Olomouc considering bringing back Kováč
Though ninth, Sigma Olomouc are only two points above the relegation zone. They are reportedly hoping to boost their chances of survival by signing former international defender/defensive midfielder Radoslav Kováč from Slovan Liberec. The former Sparta, Spartak Moscow and West Ham man started his career at Sigma and his arrival would no doubt be warmly welcomed by fans.
Romantic partners Kvitová and Štěpánek representing Czechs at Hopman Cup
Tennis’s mixed team Hopman Cup has extra spice for Czech tennis fans
this time out, with the country represented by romantic partners Petra
Kvitová and Radek Štěpánek. In their opening tie in Australia’s
Perth, the couple brushed past defending champions Spain without losing a
set. Their second outing, against France, was due to finish after we
recorded this show.