The Australian Open ended with mixed blessings for the Czech players, the happiest of whom was doubtless Radek Štěpánek. Unseeded Štěpánek and Leander Paes of India won the men’s doubles tournament, defeating the defending champions, the American Bryan twins, 7-6, 6-2. With that, Karviná native Štěpánek leapt forward 68 places in the rankings to world 23rd, two places behind his compatriot František Čermák.
Chelsea FC and Czech international Petr Čech has been voted the world’s fifth best goalkeeper by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. The 26-year old Čech, who won the poll in 2005, came in 3rd last year. In this year’s poll, Petr Čech finished fifth with 41 points after Iker Casillas from Real Madrid, Manuel Neuer from Bayern Munich, Victor Valdes from FC Barcelona and Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus.
Viktoria Plzeň defender Michal Bystroň reportedly tested positive for doping after his team’s game against Bate Borisov in the Champions League in November. The news agency ČTK reported on Thursday that representatives of the governing body of European football, UEFA, had informed the Czech club of the find, saying that prohibited synthetic stimulants had been found in Bystroň’s sample. Viktoria Plzeň asked for the analysis of the B sample; at the same time, the club complained about the allegedly unusual circumstances of the anti-doping control procedure after the game in Minsk which Plzeň won 1:0. If doping is confirmed, David Bystroň might be out of the game for the rest of the season; however, Viktoria Plzeň would most likely face no repercussions and would be allowed to continue in UEFA’s Europa League in the spring.
Czech football defender Tomáš Řepka quit Sparta Prague on Tuesday, after he agreed to prematurely terminate his contract in the club. The 37-year-old former Sparta captain will be a free agent since January; however, it is not clear if and where the defender will play after that. Tomáš Řepka played for a number of Czech clubs before spending three seasons in Italy’s Fiorentina and five years in the English club West Ham United. He returned to Sparta in 2006. Between 1993 and 2003, Řepka played 45 matches for the Czech national team but throughout his career, he has had disciplinary problems, often lacking self-control. He received a total of 18 red cards, and on one occasion attacked game officials and a TV crew.
Czech football club Viktoria Plzeň will face German side FC Schalke 04 when play resumes in the Europa League. The draw for the round of 32 took place on Friday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon. The winner of the round will go on to face either Steaua Bukurešť or Twente Enschede. The match-up is being seen as a positive one for Plzeň – which should see good play from both squads. It was expected the club would face either Brugges, Sporting Lisabon, Besiktas, Lutych, PAOK Soluň, Eindhoven or Schalke.
Striker Libor Kozák, who played just six matches for Lazio this season in the top Italian football league (five of those as a substitute) helped his team advance to the round of 32 in the Europa League on Wednesday. The striker scored once in the squad’s 2:0 defeat of Group D winner Sporting Lisbon to clinch the second qualifying spot. Lazio finished with nine points compared to the group leader’s 12. Kozák’s goal came in the first half while Sculli added a second in the final 45 minutes. Lazio had begun the day tied with Romania’s Vaslui, who finished 3rd, after losing to Zurich.
Chelsea FC and Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech finished first in the autumn part of the Golden Ball award, a Czech poll among sports reporters. The 29-year-old goalie came in five points ahead of Viktoria Plzeň midfielder Petr Jiráček and striker David Lafata of Jablonec at third place. Petr Čech has won the Czech Golden Ball award six times in the past.
In Sports News: Czech women’s floorball team wins bronze at World Floorball Championships; in the domestic hockey league, Tipsport extraliga Pardubice trounce Sparta; star Czech hockey forward Jaromír Jágr sets a new milestone scoring his 656 NHL goal, tying Brendan Shanahan as No. 11 all-time scorer; Czech ski jumper Hlava finishes 13th in Harrachov.
Viktoria Plzeň rewarded fans at Prague’s Eden stadium on Tuesday with a match to remember against AC Milan in the Champions League. With just minutes remaining the Czech club scored not once but twice to earn a well-deserved draw. While not enough to advance, the club will at least continue in competition in UEFA’s Europa League in the spring.
Ex-ice hockey international Svoboda dies at 41
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Czech hiking trails mark 130 years