Sparta Prague have sacked their manager Jiri Kotrba after another disastrous performance on Saturday, in which they were beaten 2:0 at Synot. He was the fourth manager in two years at the Czech Republic's richest club. The reigning Czech champions have been playing woefully since the second half of the season began; instead of closing a seven-point gap on leaders Banik Ostrava, they have fallen to ten points behind, and are now fourth in the league. Failure to end in the top two and earn a shot at the Champions League would be financially disastrous for the club, and they will be hoping whoever they find to replace Kotrba can help them finish at least second.
Finishing first would appear virtually impossible, with Banik Ostrava ten points clear of Sparta and six ahead of second-placed Slavia Prague, with only seven games left to go. Ostrava beat Brno 5:1 on Saturday, while Slavia were impressive in a 3:0 defeat of Pribram; two of those goals came from Vaclav Kolousek, who has proved a superb winter-break signing for the club. Just one point behind Slavia are Olomouc, who beat Viktoria Zizkov 1:0 away on Sunday.
It's taken young Czech striker Vaclav Sverkos a bit of time to settle at Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach but he has been finding his feet lately. On Saturday Sverkos made the headlines in Germany with two goals (the second a penalty) against the man considered the world's best goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn of Bayern Munich, though Sverkos and co. still lost 5:2.
Talk about a thrilling climax: having been 3:1 down on games in the best-of-seven Extraliga semi-finals playoffs, Slavia Prague have clawed their way back to win the series 4:3 against Sparta. A 4:2 win for Slavia on Friday left everything hinging on Sunday's final game, without doubt the hottest ticket in town. In the end, Slavia - the defending Extraliga champions - won 3:0, dumping city rivals Sparta out in the semis for the second year in a row. Slavia now take on Hame Zlin in the final, which begins on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the future of Sparta's coach Alois Hadamczik is unclear. His contract runs out at the end of the season and may not be renewed. Pardubice, who led the Extraliga all season only to go out in the playoff quarter-finals, have already shown the door to coach Milos Riha.
Czech star Petr Nedved scored his 300th goal in the NHL on Friday, helping his new club Edmonton to a 3:1 win over Los Angeles, who featured another Czech player, Roman Cechmanek, in goal.
Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak has been knocked out of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami. Novak was beaten 6:4, 6:2 by Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the third round of the big-money competition, which has been dubbed the "fifth Grand Slam" tournament.
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