In Sports News this week: Libor Sionko scores for Glasgow Rangers while Celtic's Jiri Jarosik (heading for his fourth title in as many countries) needs stitches after a Scottish league clash; Petr Cech enjoys a rare Christmas at home in Plzen, as former Czech keeper Pavel Srnicek makes a return for Newcastle; ice hockey great Dominik Hasek puts in a brilliant performance for Detroit; and the Czech Davis Cup team will definitely be without world no. 19 Radek Stepanek.
While many of us have been overindulging and vegging out over the festive season, it's been go go go for many of the Czech Republic's football players. There is now, for the first time, a sizable Czech contingent at Scotland's top clubs. Among them is Libor Sionko, who will have had a merry Christmas after scoring for Glasgow Rangers in their 2:1 win over Aberdeen on December 23. On the other side of Scotland's biggest city, Jiri Jarosik lined up for Celtic as they beat Falkirk 1:0. But the blonde midfielder had to be substituted in the 56th minute of Celtic's Boxing Day clash with Dundee, which ended 2:2. Jarosik had this to say on the phone from Scotland.
"I was actually injured before the game. Then I took a lot of knocks during the match before I got a bad kick from one of the opposition, for which I needed around 10 stitches. I managed to play until half-time, but not long afterwards I had to go off. I went straight to the changing rooms to get the stitches."
Jarosik, who has been capped 23 times by the Czech Republic, has a most unusual record at club level. The 29-year-old has championship winning medals from three different leagues. He won the Czech league several times with Sparta Prague, took the Russian league title with CSKA Moscow and played enough games during a brief spell at Chelsea to earn a Premiership winner's medal. Now, with Celtic 15 points clear in Scotland, Jarosik looks set to make it four leagues, four titles.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech, meanwhile, is missing Chelsea's busy Christmas schedule as he continues his recuperation after a bad head injury. Cech took advantage of his lay-off to spend a rare Christmas at home in Plzen, where he said he'd enjoyed carp, potato salad and TV fairytales. In an interview with Sport newspaper, the young star said all he'd lacked was snow.
Former Czech international goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek played his first full game since his return to Newcastle on Boxing Day, a 2:1 defeat at the hands of Bolton. Srnicek, now 38, spent seven years at the club during the 1990s. He is hugely popular with Newcastle fans, who call him Pav.
Ice hockey goalie Dominik Hasek may be just a month short of his 42nd birthday but he continues to play at the very highest level. In his most recent game with Detroit Red Wings Hasek kept out an incredible 34 shots to help his team to a 3:1 win over Minnesota. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said it was the best goaltending performance he has seen in two seasons at the club.
The Czech Republic will have to face the USA in the first round of
tennis's Davis Cup without Radek Stepanek. Stepanek had boycotted the
Czech team under former coach Cyril Suk, but had been expected to play
under his successor Jaroslav Navratil. Player and coach gave differing
accounts to the media about a possible meeting in Prague; that appears to
have been the last straw for Stepanek, who is 28 and ranked 19th in the
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