In Sports News this Monday: Czech women reach fifth Fed Cup final in six years after beating Swiss in Lucerne; Sparta boss Ščasný “concedes” title race to Plzeň with five rounds to go; Liberec and Sparta tied 1:1 in Extraliga playoffs final; and Chodov become Czech floorball champions in front of record crowd.
Goalkeeper Petr Čech returned for his first match for London club Arsenal against Crystal Palace on Sunday after a six week layoff, a match the Gunners were expected to win. Instead, they got a disappointing 1:1 draw. Arsenal dominated throughout, going ahead in first half, maintaining 72 percent possession and firing 21 shots; yet they were still punished by a late strike by Yannick Bolasie. The player scored at the near post – a goal Čech probably should have stopped. Arsenal are in fourth place in the Premier League.
In football, Sparta Prague were knocked out of the Europa League at the last eight stage at home on Thursday night. Sparta went down 2:4 against Spanish club Villarreal. The Spaniards were already 3:0 up at half time with another goal soon after. Sparta pulled back with goals by Dočkal and Krejčí with just under 20 minutes left on the clock but failed to pull off a miracle. Sparta’s makeshift defense was cruelly exposed in the first half while neat play while a series of chances at the other end failed to win any reward. Sparta lost the away leg 1:2.
In football, Sparta Prague lost 1:2 in the first leg of their Europa League last eight tie against Villarreal. The Czech visitors conceded in the third minute with a howler when Sparta keeper Bičík cleared a back pass late so that it rebounded against the legs of Villarreal’s Bakambu. Against the run of play, Sparta’s Brabec scored from a corner just before the interval. Bakambu doubled his tally in the 63rd minute. After his early mistake Bičík emerged as a hero making countless saves as the Spaniards sought to widen their lead. The return leg is in a week with Sparta facing serious doubts about what sort of team they can field due to yellow cards and injuries.
In football, Sparta Prague flied out Wednesday for their Europa League first leg tie against Villarreal. The Czech club has a series of injury worries ahead of the last eight encounter. Goalkeeper Bičík and defender Holek both missed the weekend league in which Sparta lost 2:0 against Jihlava. They should be recovered for Thursday’s match in Spain but midfielder Zahustel and Jiráček are almost certain to miss the match.
The Czech Republic’s footballers drew 1:1 with Sweden on Tuesday night in their last friendly before the European Championship. The Czechs, with nine changes to the line-up that lost 1:0 to Scotland last week, went behind to a goal from Marcus Berg before Matěj Vyrda equalised for the visitors. The Czech Republic will be in a group with Spain, Turkey and Croatia at the Euros, which get underway in France in mid-June.
The Czech national soccer team are preparing for their final warm-up game before the European Championship in France. Pavel Vrba’s men are set to take on a Swedish team featuring world star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Stockholm five days after a 1:0 home defeat to Scotland in another friendly. Tuesday night’s game is seen as a final chance for some players to prove they deserve to be in the squad for the Euros, which get underway in mid-June.
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