Can anyone stop Czech football side Ostrava Banik? That was the question for Teplice on Saturday as they faced unbeaten Ostrava in the 12th round of the Gambrinus Liga, the Czech first division. In the first half Ostrava proved the more active side and the early pressure paid off: Mario Licka opened the game's scoring in the 7th minute. However, the lead didn't last. Teplice responded in the 26th minute when Henrich Bencik went head-to-head against Ostrava' s goalkeeper Lastuvka, who inadvertently sent the ball into his own net. In the second half Teplice had more chances but Ostrava was able to hang on for the tie, leaving both teams with one point. The deadlock weakened Ostrava's advance at the top of the table to six points over second place Sparta Prague. But on Monday Sparta could close the gap still further if it manages to defeat sixth-place Brno.
Meanwhile other first division results over the weekend saw east Moravia's Olomouc win against Slavia Prague, the first time they have beaten Slavia at home in 8 years. Key was the loss of Slavia defender Adam Petrous in the first half, after the defender received a red card for pulling the ball out of the air with his hands. A move more appropriate for basketball than soccer. Despite the disadvantage Slavia continued to play well and it even appeared the match might end in a draw. In the second half, however, Olomouc turned the game around with goals from Reiter and Babnic.
Elsewhere in the league Ceske Budejovice beat Viktoria Zizkov 2-0, Jablonec closed out Zlin 2-1, Pribram lost to Blsany 1-2. Opava won over Pilsen 2-0, while Synot edged Liberec 2-1.
There's no stopping Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved, who scored the opener for his team Juventus against Brescia, eventually winning 2-0. The victory helped Juve keep pace with AC Milan, now atop the Italian league. Both teams are tied on points, but Milan just edges Juve on goals.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek earned his first shutout since coming out of retirement: the Dominator smothered a total of 22 shots by the Dallas Stars on Friday to earn the win, an overall 62nd shutout in his career. Saturday though was a different story for Hasek when he allowed two goals by the New York Rangers including one by fellow Czech-born player Bobby Holik. The Rangers eventually added a third, an empty netter to seal the game 3-1.
Czech players also left their mark in other NHL action: last year's top goal-scorer Milan Hejduk helped his team the Colorado Avalanche down the Nashville Predators 5-3 with two goals and one assist, while Martin Havlat and Radek Bonk each scored a goal in the Ottawa Senators 6-2 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Elsewhere the Washington Capitals' woes continued with their 4-1 loss to Toronto: the Capitals' lone goal was scored by Jaromir Jagr - obviously, not nearly enough. His team continues to slump in fifth place of the Southeast division.
Meanwhile, in the Czech hockey league Slavia beat Vitkovice 3-1, Sparta Ceske Budejovice 3-2, and Pardubice tied Znojmo 3-3. After 17 rounds Pardubice continue to top Czech hockey league standings, followed by Sparta in second place, and Zlin in third. Slavia is seventh. Meanwhile, Vsetin and Liberec rest at the bottom of the table with Ceske Budejovice coming in dead last. Neither Ceske Budejovice - nor Liberec - has won a game this season.
Czech cross-country skier Martin Koukal won silver in the fifteen km freestyle sprint over the weekend in Dusseldorf, coming in second only behind Swedish skier Peter Larson. The race saw a strip of fake snow stretch throughout the centre of the city, with thousands of visitors coming out to watch. The second-place finish by Koukal marks the best ever for the 25-year old, who earned around 6,000 euros for his efforts.
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