Title race appears back on after latest Plzeň slip-up sees lead over Slavia shrink to seven points; Kometa Brno and Třinec reach Extraliga playoffs final; Vrbata hangs up skates in NHL; and biathlon star Koukalová to also sit out next season.
Have we got a title race again in Czech soccer’s top flight? Viktoria Plzeň, who have won the championship four times in the last seven seasons, looked to have the title done and dusted months ago, going into the winter break a massive 14 points clear of second-placed Slavia.
Now, however, the gap between the two clubs has been cut in half after Slavia beat Brno at the weekend and Plzeň – who have only won once since the resumption of the season – slipped up at Bohemians 1905. And how. Having conceded 10 goals before Sunday, they conceded half that number in a sorry 5:2 defeat in the capital.
The West Bohemians’ next game is in Plzeň against major rivals Sparta Prague. There are seven rounds to go in the league this season. Watch this space.
The line-up for the finals of the ice hockey Extraliga playoffs is clear after the weekend’s action. Kometa Brno were first to make it after a 6:2 win against Plzeň on Saturday gave them 4:1 on games. They were joined by Třinec a day later, when they dispatched Hradec Králové in overtime for 4:2 on games. The final series begins on Saturday.
Radim Vrbata has called time on his career in the NHL. The Czech right wing made his last appearance in the league for Florida Panthers on Saturday. The 36-year-old said he was returning to the Czech Republic in part so his children could attend Czech schools. In his 16 years in the NHL, Vrbata played over 1,000 regular season games, scored 284 goals and made 339 assists.
The biathlon star Gabriela Koukalová has made the shock announcement that she will sit out the whole of next season. The 2017 biathlon sprint world champion and Czech sportsperson of the year missed out on the the Winter Olympics in February due to problems with her calves and says she cannot at present imagine returning to competition. The popular Koukalová, who last competed in March 2017, told the website Sport.cz that she didn’t want to rule out ever returning to biathlon, saying she might miss it in a couple of years.
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