In Sports News this Monday: Good start to year for Czech women tennis players, with Šafářová, Siniaková and the Plíšková sisters all racking up wins in their first matches of 2017; Dakar Rally has 24 Czech participants; Slavia beat Sparta in annual old boys’ game; and Havlát to make dramatic return for Brno?
In football, Sparta Prague have boosted their squad with the acquisition of Romanian defender Bogdan Vatajelu. The 23-year-old joins from the club Universitatae Craiova and has signed a three-and-a-half year contract. Local media reports said that Vatajelu was also a transfer target of Italian club Fiorentina. Vatajelu is a product of the Steaua Bucharest youth academy.
David Holoubek is set to remain manager of Sparta Prague football club, despite formal shortcomings. In an interview with Czech Television on Monday, the 36-year-old said the only thing to be resolved was the “model” that he and the club would follow. Holoubek will not receive the trainer’s licence he requires for the post until May. Until then his assistant will lead the team on paper, as was the case during a recent Europa League game against Inter Milan. Meanwhile, Sparta have drawn Russia’s Rostov in the next round of that competition.
The last round of matches in the Europa League group stage brought mixed results for the three Czech clubs in the competition. Sparta Prague will progress out of the group stage despite losing against Inter Milan 1:2 on Thursday night. Sparta are on 12 points in their group, followed by Hapoel Beer-Sheva and Southampton. Liberec failed to secure a spot in the next stage after it went down 0:2 against PAOK Thessaloniki, while Viktoria Plzeň ends the Europa League competition with a symbolic 3:2 win against Austria Vienna.
The young Czech soccer striker Patrik Schick scored twice for Sampdoria as they beat Cagliari 3:0 in the Italian Cup on Wednesday night. In his only previous outing for the Genovese team the 20-year-old – who joined Sampdoria from Sparta Prague in the summer – scored against Juventus in a league game. Schick has three full international caps.
The Czech ice hockey Extraliga is to mark the 80th anniversary of its foundation in a series of events over the coming weeks. They will begin with a game between Sparta Prague and Vítkovice on Sunday and conclude with a clash between Zlín and Hradec Králové on January 13. During the celebrations large-scale fan polls will be conducted to decide on the greatest event in the league’s history and the best five players. The first ever Extraliga game took place on 3 January 1937.
There were mixed results for Czech football clubs in the Europa League on Thursday night. Sparta Prague beat Southampton 1:0 at home and will proceed to the next stage of the competition in the Spring. Liberec kept their hopes alive with a 3:0 win against Qarabag. But Viktoria Plzeň lost 4:1 away against AC Roma and are out of the competition.