30-05-2005

Farcical scenes as Sparta presented with football league title

Karel Poborsky, photo: CTKKarel Poborsky, photo: CTK There was a farcical end to the Czech football league season for champions Sparta Prague, who were beaten 2:1 at home by Teplice on Saturday. Incredibly, it was Sparta's fourth defeat in five games since securing their 33rd league title. Coach Jaroslav Hrebik is disliked by hardcore fans loyal to his sacked predecessor Frantisek Straka; Hrebik received threats ahead of Saturday's game and had to have a police escort. Then he failed to turn up for celebrations as the league trophy was presented, only to be criticised by captain Karel Poborsky. So Sparta Prague: not a happy football club.

Frantisek Straka, photo: CTKFrantisek Straka, photo: CTK But fierce rivals Slavia are on cloud nine, after they won the race for second place with a 2:0 away win over Ostrava. That victory could turn out to be very valuable as it gives Slavia a berth in the third qualifying round of the Champions League; Slavia - who seem to be always the bridesmaid, never the bride - have never reached the prestigious competition. Teplice finished third, winning a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

At the other end of the table Opava and Ceske Budejovice were relegated. The Czech league's top scorer, meanwhile, was Sparta's Tomas Jun with 14 goals. That is the lowest tally of any top scorer in the history of the Czech league, and it must be said that between a long series of corruption scandals and low standards on the pitch, the 2004-2005 season has been one of the worst ever in Czech football.

Jankulovski joins AC Milan, Baros considering Valencia move

Further afield, the manager of Italy's Udinese has said the club has sold Czech international Marek Jankulovski to AC Milan, still one of the best clubs in the world despite losing to Liverpool in last week's Champions League final. Liverpool's Milan Baros, meanwhile, says he's more likely to join Spain's Valencia than remain on Merseyside. Baros is currently in Prague preparing with the Czech team for home World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Macedonia.

Czechs perform poorly at French Open

This year's French Open won't be remembered fondly by Czech tennis fans. Of all the Czechs at Roland Garros only men's number one Radek Stepanek got past the singles second round. Stepanek was beaten in five sets by Sebastian Grosjean of France in the third in a match lasting over four hours.

Sebrle wins decathlon at Gotz for fifth year in row

Roman Sebrle, photo: CTKRoman Sebrle, photo: CTK The great Roman Sebrle has won the decathlon at Austria's Gotz, the same venue where he set the world record four years ago. It wasn't easy for the Olympic champion, who has been suffering from a virus and considered pulling out after the first day. But he fought on, finally reaching first place with the last discipline, the 1500m. It was Sebrle's fifth win in a row at Gotz.

30-05-2005