12-09-2005

In Sports News: the Czech women's basketball team beat Russia in a dramatic final to win the European Championships for the first time ever; the new Czech ice hockey season begins after a five-month break, minus most of the NHL stars who were such a draw last term; Sparta win in the domestic football league but look shaky on the eve of their Champions League campaign; and Rudolf Skacel equals a goal-scoring record in Scotland.

Czech women win European Basketball Championships for first time ever

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK History was made on Sunday night when the Czech women's basketball team sensationally won the European Championships for the first time ever. In a very dramatic final in Ankara, the Czechs were trailing old foes Russia 31:43 at half time, but gradually clawed their way back into the match.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Then - with just eight second to go - veteran Eva Nemcova calmly scored a three pointer to put the Czechs in the lead. They then added another point to make it 72:70 before the final whistle. Cue scenes of euphoria from the Czech players and bench.

And here is Czech heroine Eva Nemcova:

"It's absolutely great. It's hard to put it in words because it still hasn't sunk in at all. I said to myself 'there are just five seconds to go'...We were losing by a point and I had to score - that was the only chance we had...But we did it - we have the gold! It's excellent!"

Extraliga season begins

Pardubice - Karlovy Vary, photo: CTKPardubice - Karlovy Vary, photo: CTK The new season in Czech ice hockey's Extraliga got underway on Friday evening. Around 60 of the NHL stars who entertained Czech fans during last season's lockout have returned to their north American clubs, but many in Czech hockey say there is no reason this season should be any less exciting than last.

The bookies favourites to win are Slavia Prague; they got off to a poor start with a 1:1 draw at Vsetin, though made amends on Sunday with a 5:1 win over Kladno. Title holders Pardubice are also on four points after two games - they beat Karlovy Vary 2:1 and drew 1:1 with Vitkovice.

Sparta looking shaky ahead of first Champions League game

Lukas Zelenka, photo: CTKLukas Zelenka, photo: CTK Czech football league champions Sparta Prague beat Jihlava 2:0 on Saturday with both goals coming from Lukas Zelenka, though - as often this season - their style of play has come in for a lot of criticism. They'll have to improve if they're to make any impact against Ajax Amsterdam, who visit Prague for a Champions League group game on Wednesday. Ajax feature Czech international captain Tomas Galasek and former Sparta man Zdenek Grygera.

Two other Czech clubs are in European action this week. Slavia Prague play Irish side Cork City in the first round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday, while Teplice face Espangnol in the same competition.

Skacel equals Scottish league goal-a-game record set by great Larsson

Rudolf Skacel dusted himself off after his disappointing performance for the Czech national team last week and scored again for Hearts at the weekend. That makes it a goal in each of his first six games for Hearts this season, equalling the Scottish record set by the great Henrik Larsson. Not bad for somebody who was a left-back last season, when he played for Panathinaikos. Skacel has been named player of the month in the Scottish Premier League.

Meanwhile, record breaking goalkeeper Petr Cech is picking up where he left off last term in the English Premiership - he has not conceded a goal for Chelsea in five league games this season.

12-09-2005