In Sports News: In football, Sparta Prague slip against Hradec Kralové while defending league champions Viktoria Plzeň draw with Dukla; Viktoria Plzeň’s 3:1 loss against Schalke 04 ends glorious European competition run; midfielder Tomáš Rosický ends a two-year scoring drought in the Premier League; and in hockey, Sparta Prague are crowned season champions.
In football, Mladá Boleslav have pulled even with Viktoria Plzeň at 34 points – nine fewer than league leaders Sparta Prague and are now in fourth spot, edged only on goals scored. At the weekend, Plzeň, the defending champions started well against Dukla but only managed a 1:1 draw. Dukla scored after Plzeň goalkeeper Marek Čech mishandled the ball. In other action, Liberec moved to within three points of the league leaders with a 2:0 win over Příbram, while Sparta slipped against Hradec Kralové losing 1:0 and failing to earn a point. Slavia Prague, in 11th spot, face Teplice later on Monday.
Last Thursday, Viktoria Plzeň lost 3:1 to the German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in overtime in the last 16 in UEFA’s Europa League. The Czech team earned a late equalizer in the 88th minute, when Czech midfielder František Rajtoral took advantage of a failed clearance attempt by Schalke to score. The first leg had also ended 1:1 in regular time, setting up last Thursday’s dramatic finish in Germany. Unfortunately the Czech club, allowed two goals in extra time bringing to an end a highly respectable run. In the autumn the Czech league champions took part in their first ever Champions League group stage, facing football giants Barcelona and AC Milan, as well as Belarus’s Bate Borisov. The team earned five points in that competition.
Czech midfielder and captain of the national squad Tomáš Rosický broke a two-year-long Premier league scoring drought on Sunday in Aresnal’s win over Tottenham. Rosický’s Arsenal fell behind early in the game and were losing 2:0 before they began to mount a terrific comeback. Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie helped level the match before Rosický put his side ahead early in the second half. The final score was 5:2. At the same time, Rosický suffered a back injury in the match, striking him from the national squad roster as the team faces Ireland in a friendly. Jiří Štajner, who plays for Liberec, has been nominated in his place.
In hockey, Czech club Vítkovice have qualified for the playoffs, narrowly avoiding an extra elimination round. The club, in its final match of the regular season, defeated Třinec by a score of 5:3. In other action, Slavia won 3:2 over Sparta in a game which came down to deciding penalties. Despite the loss, Sparta are the season champions, finishing with 107 points, well ahead of second-place HC Plzeň 1929.
Across the pond in the NHL three Czech players scored in games on Sunday: Michal Michálek got his 28th goal of the season in the Ottawa Senators’ 5:2 win over the New York Islanders. Petr Sýkora, playing in his 996th NHL game, scored for New Jersey in a 3:4 loss to Tampa Bay; Václav Prospal also scored in a losing effort, with Columbus 4:2 against Pittsburgh.
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