Sparta Prague's chances of advancing to the knock-out stages of the Champions League now look rather slim, after they lost to Besiktas in a very wet Istanbul on Tuesday night. Sparta were less than ten minutes away from taking a valuable point, when poor defending allowed the unmarked Brazilian Ronaldo (no, not that Ronaldo) to head in the only goal of the game. Sparta keeper Jaromir Blazek was disappointed after the match.
"We should have played a bit more and worked a bit harder. We gave Besiktas too much room to attack in the second half, which was a mistake."
Sparta's next Champions League game is away to Group G leaders Chelsea on November 26. In the more immediate future they face Czech league leaders Ostrava (who have yet to be beaten) in Prague on Saturday, in perhaps the biggest game of the season so far.
In the UEFA Cup, after putting out Kaiserslautern in the first round, Teplice beat the 2002 winners Feyenoord 2:0 away on Thursday, in the biggest upset of the second round first legs. Teplice got off to a dream start, when after only two minutes a Dutch player was sent off for a tackle on Jan Rezek, and Michal Dolezal scored from the subsequent free kick. Rezek himself scored the second on 57 minutes, with a tap-in after great work from Dolezal. After the game Jan Rezek said Teplice's defence also had to take the credit for a brilliant result.
"The guys really defended fantastically. Feyenoord didn't make too many chances and when they did our keeper Patrik Kolar saved really well. We were able to calm down a bit after the second goal, we knew we could win and we wanted to maintain that scoreline."
Despite playing at home, Slavia Prague - now third in the Czech league after beating Synot 2:0 on Monday - had a tougher time in their UEFA Cup tie against the Bulgarian club Levski Sofia. After leading for most of the match through a Pavel Kuka goal, Slavia were - in the end - glad of a draw. After scoring with just under 15 minutes to go, the Bulgarians found the net again two minutes into time added on. In an incredible climax, Pavel Fort then scored the equaliser for Slavia three minutes into time added on!
Both Slavia and Teplice play their second round second leg games in three weeks time.
The Czech Republic got off to a winning start in ice hockey's Karjala Cup on Thursday, with a 2:1 victory over hosts Sweden. The Czechs' other games in the Karjala Cup - which is the second competition of the Euro Hockey Tour - are against Finland on Saturday and Russia on Sunday.
Czech goalie Roman Cechmanek won plaudits after making 24 saves in Los Angeles Kings' 3:2 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the unsettled Czech superstar Jaromir Jagr of the Washington Capitals has been linked with a move to Montreal. Typically, Jagr is philosophical about the speculation, saying he would have no control over such a transfer.
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