15-03-2001

By Peter Smith

Turning to sport now and let's begin with the Ice-Hockey Play-offs which are underway here in the Czech Republic. In Wednesday's quarter-final tie between Litvinov and Sparta Prague, the home side ran-out 3-1 winners - Kysela and Martinec scored twice for Litvinov in the opening period before Zelenka gave Sparta some hope with a strike midway through the second. Stavensky made sure of all the victory for Litvinov late in that period. The series now stands at 1-1.

There was a cracking tie at Pardubice, where the home team over-powered their rivals Litvinov 6-3 in an entertaining match. Two goals each from Prochazka and Sykora and as well as one apiece from Rolinek and Pacal enabled Pardubice to level up the series at 1-1.

In football, the Lazio's Czech international Pavel Nedved is in hot water after his challenge on a young Leeds United player during Wednesday evening's Champions League match, which ended 3-3. The Leeds United manager David O'Leary accused the Czech Republic captain of a late and reckless tackle on the youth team player Alan Maybury. "It was a disgraceful challenge," said O'Leary, "the doctor are examining him now and I'm hoping that he got lucky."

Lazio boss Dino Zoff defended Nedved, saying "I am sorry if the boy is hurt - it's just one of those things that happen in football."

The latest FIFA world rankings have been announced and it's not as pretty reading for the Czechs as it was one year ago when they were ranked the best team in the world behind Brazil. They've slipped four places since then to 6th - counting down only Brazil, France, Argentina, Portugal and Italy rank better.

Finally, turning to tennis and in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters Series, Bohdan Ulihrach got lucky - after taking the first set against Nicolas Massu 6-2, the Chilean had to retire injured after losing the first two games of the second.