In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s ice hockey players get back on track with a solid display at the Channel One Cup; Ondřej Bank comes a sensational fifth in a giant slalom World Cup event in Italy; Sparta Prague draw Liverpool in the Europa League; and world tennis number one Caroline Wozniacki helps Prostějov win a Czech title.
Sparta Prague have drawn Liverpool in European club football’s second-tier competition, the Europa League. The first leg takes place at Sparta’s AXA Arena on February 17, with the second game at the English club’s Anfield ground a week later. Liverpool won the Europa League’s predecessor the UEFA Cup in 2001, before winning the more prestigious Champions League four years later.
Football’s Sparta Prague drew 1:1 with CSKA Moscow in their final Europa League group stage game on Wednesday night. The Russians opened the scoring through Alan Dzagoev, before Václav Kadlec equalised for the Czech champions. CSKA had already come first in the four-team group with points to spare, while Sparta’s hold on second place was unassailable.
The Czech first division football club Brno has not had a good season so far. After a series of humiliating defeats, which have left Brno second from bottom going into the winter break, the patience of the club’s owner is at an end. He has taken the extraordinary step of asking both players and the team’s manager to undergo voluntary lie detector tests.
Sparta Prague host CSKA Moscow in their final Europa League group stage game on Wednesday night. The Russians have already come first in the four-team group with points to spare, while Sparta’s hold on second place is unassailable, meaning the match is something of a dead rubber. However, CSKA coach Leonid Slutski said he expected the Czech champions to put on a show for their home fans in what is their last game of 2010.
The management of Brno football club have announced that they are introducing lie detector tests for their own players in a bid to ascertain whether they have deliberately tried to fix the result of games. A club official said the move was nothing sinister, and would prevent rumours that their players were guilty of match-fixing. A clause in the contracts of new signings commits them to undergoing polygraph tests twice a season. The Moravian club, who lie second from bottom of the Czech first division, have also fined players who performed poorly in the first half of the season.
The former Czech football international Marek Jankulovski says it is extremely likely that he will return to his hometown club Baník Ostrava when his contract at Italian giants AC Milan runs out at the end of the season. In an interview with the newspaper Sport, Jankulovski, who is 33, said he wants to return to Ostrava with his family, despite offers from clubs in Europe and the USA. The left-back and midfielder won the Champions League with Milan in 2007, but has not figured in their team this season. He played 78 times for the Czech Republic, scoring 11 goals.
The president of European football’s governing body UEFA says he is not opposed to the idea of a joint Czech and Slovak football championship, recreating the league that existed before the two states split in 1993. Speaking after a UEFA meeting in Prague, Michel Platini said that while he did not regard the suggestion negatively, it did need further thought. Mr Platini said other countries were also considering combining their championships. A spokesperson for the Czech football association said a joint league would make both states stronger in terms of TV rights, players and European competition. Discussions about the practicalities of a merger are underway.
In Sports News this Monday: Mladá Boleslav could be expelled from Czech ice hockey’s Extraliga over allegations the club falsified a financial health statement; after collapsing on the ice at the start of the NHL season, Czech goaltender Ondřej Pavelec is now in the form of his life; will Tomáš Rosický leave Arsenal for Aston Villa?; and the Czechs beat Japan 25:1 at the World Floorball Championship.
Premiership League leaders Chelsea – with goalkeeper Petr Čech – fell to third place at the weekend after drawing 1:1 with Everton. The team has not won in their last four games. During the match, Čech suffered a cut to his face from Cahill’s boot. Despite being bloodied, he returned to the field shortly after. Chelsea led following a successful penalty by Drogba but Everton were able to tie in the 86th minute. Arsenal now lead in the standings, followed by second-place Manchester City.
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