Czech football league leaders Banik Ostrava came down to earth with a bang on Sunday, when - after a very impressive 21 games without defeat - they were beaten 2:1 by, of all clubs, bottom of the table Blsany! Ostrava's Radek Sloncik said the team had expected to lose some time, but it still shouldn't have happened at lowly Blsany. Captain Radoslav Latal, meanwhile, described the result as a "disaster". Ostrava remain three points ahead with a game in hand.
Banik's first defeat since last May will have come as some relief to defending champions Sparta Prague, who threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2:2 with Ceske Budejovice on Saturday. Sparta slipped to third in the league, as Slavia beat Pilsen 3:0; the best of those goals was a wonderful chip by Vaclav Kolousek, who has made an immediate impact since signing for Slavia in January. Elsewhere, Viktoria Zizkov - now captained by veteran Jiri Nemec - beat Brno 2:0 to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.
As for Czechs playing abroad, Milan Baros made a major impact for Liverpool on Sunday, scoring in his first league game since breaking his ankle in September. Baros's international team-mate Tomas Rosicky, meanwhile, had a less pleasant weekend, breaking his arm five minutes before the end of Dortmund's defeat at Bremen. That setback follows an appendix operation and back problems in what has not been a happy season for Rosicky.
The hit of the last round of the Extraliga regular season on Friday was undoubtedly the tie between Pilsen and Kladno to decide the last place in the playoffs. A draw would have sufficed for Kladno, but they fell far short of that, conceding five goals but putting none past man of the match Roman Malek. The goaltender won the playoffs with Slavia last year, though he and his Pilsen team-mates are sure to have a tough time against Pardubice in this season's playoffs: Pardubice ended the regular season on 108 points, 15 clear of second-placed Zlin.
Czech forward Robert Lang made a dream start for the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, just two days after signing from the Washington Capitals. Lang notched up three assists for Detroit in a 4:2 win over Philadelphia to return to the top of the NHL points table.
Czech cross country skier Lukas Bauer came third in the 50 kilometres in Norway's Holmenkollen on Sunday, to reach the podium for the second time this season and the fifth time in the 26-year-old's career. Bauer said it was a great experience and all the more enjoyable given that he had gone to Norway with no expectations of success.
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