In Sports News this Monday: Čech beats former club Chelsea in perfect competitive debut for Arsenal; Plzeň sustain surprise defeat at Dukla having fielded weakened side ahead of Champions League qualifier; disappointment for Czech swimmers at worlds; and Vaidišová set for first home appearance since return to tennis.
Czech soccer goalkeeper Petr Čech has got off to the perfect start with his new Premier League club Arsenal. In his first competitive game for the Gunners, the 33-year-old kept a clean sheet as they beat his former club Chelsea 1:0 in the Community Shield, the traditional curtain raiser to the new season in England. Čech, who has become an instant favourite with Arsenal supporters, also got a big cheer at the start of the match from fans of Chelsea, the club he served for 11 years and helped win a host of trophies. Speaking to Czech Radio, he said he appreciated the gesture.
“It was a kind of internal happiness that the fans have respect for me. I really appreciated that… Prior to the game I got lots of SMSes from friends telling me not to mix the jerseys up and put on a blue one by mistake. But once you’re on the pitch you just want to help your teammates. This win will help us to start the season with our heads up.”
In the Czech league, defending champions Viktoria Plzeň suffered a surprise defeat in the second round of the season at the weekend. Plzeň could have at least salvaged a draw after trailing 1:0 to Dukla Prague in the capital from the 77th minute. However, midfielder Jan Kovařík failed to convert a late penalty and the title-holders were left pointless. Meanwhile, the West Bohemians’ main challengers, Sparta Prague, notched up their first victory this term; they came from behind in the final 10 minutes to overcome Baník Ostrava 3:1 at Letná.
Both Plzeň and Sparta fielded weakened sides at the weekend ahead of Champions League third qualifying round clashes. On Wednesday Plzeň welcome Maccabi Tel Aviv after beating them 2:1 in Israel last week. Sparta, meanwhile, will host CSKA Moscow after notching up an impressive 2:2 draw in the Russian capital. If the Czech clubs get through there is one more qualifying round for the prestigious competition.
Swimmer Barbora Závadová twice set a new Czech record in the heats in the 200m individual medley at the ongoing world championships in the Russian city of Kazan. However, a time of 2:11:97 left Závadová in 12th in the semi-finals, meaning she missed out on a place in the final on Sunday. There was further disappointment for the Czech Republic on Monday, when Simona Baumrtová surprisingly failed to even reach the semi-finals in the 100m backstroke.
Former world number seven Nicole Vaidišová has delayed her return to Czech courts. Vaidišová has pulled out of a tournament in Plzeň, citing health reasons, and now looks set to appear at another tournament at Prague’s Štvanice next Monday. The 26-year-old one-time star returned to tennis in autumn last year after a four-year break and is currently ranked 258th in the world.
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