Football’s Sparta Prague are a step closer to being crowned season champions after the weekend, after the team drew with cross-town rivals Bohemians. Their game saw no goals but lifted Sparta now 4 points ahead of 2nd place Slavia in the league standings. By comparison, Slavia fell a shocking 3 goals to 0 to Viktoria Žižkov. Crucial moments during the game included the Slavia keeper being sent off for a foul and Slavia captain Brabec failing to convert a crucial penalty when the score was still 2:0. As a result, Sparta are now in good position to take the title, although players have been careful not to speculate too much. Sparta captain Tomáš Sivok:
“If we had gotten all three points [against Slavia], then yes, I think you could say the matter was decided. Of course we’ll take the point we got, and I think we can defend our four-point lead over Slavia. It’s in our hands.”
Sparta could now clinch the season title as early as this week.
London’s Chelsea could still be crowned season champions after the team defeated league leaders Manchester United 2:1 in the English Premiership at the weekend. Both teams are on 81 points leaving Manchester ahead on goals. Chelsea keeper Petr Čech got help match against Man U from Ashley Cole and Andriy Shevchenko who at one point kept the ball from crossing the line. Ballack scored both goals for Chelsea, one on a contested penalty. Petr Čech has said that his team now needs to win twice and hope that Manchester stumbles. Along with the Premiership, Chelsea this week are to focus on their second-leg semi-final match-up against Liverpool, which takes place on Wednesday.
The New York Rangers face an uphill battle after failing to use home ice to their advantage and falling in the first two games of their Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In Game 1 the Rangers, together with captain Jaromír Jágr fought a close game against the Penguins, seeing goals by Jágr and fellow Czech Martin Straka. At one point the Rangers even led 3-0. But the Penguins came back and capitalised late in the 3rd to ultimately take the game. The final score: 5-4. In Game 2 things didn’t get better: the Rangers lost 2-0. Jágr admitted ahead of the second match-up the Rangers faced a tough opponent in the series: his team will now have to regroup in Pittsburgh and try to get back on track.
The mood was euphoric in Montreal after the Canadiens’ dramatic overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 but Game 2 didn’t go the team’s way. The Canadiens’ offense, while fluid, missed a number of clear opportunities although Flyer’s goalie Martin Biron was outstanding. He made more than a number of keys stops including stifling a shot by Canadiens’ centre Tomáš Plekanec on a breakaway. The Canadiens have promised to rebound in Game 3 in Philadelphia. The series is tied at one apiece.
Czech boxer Lukáš Konečný put in a strong effort but failed to defeat Ukrainian opponent and defending WBO light-middleweight champion Sergei Dzinziruk. The Hamburg-based fighter kept a vibrant Konečný at bay with one judge giving him a tie, two others the majority decision. Konečný is the first Czech with a chance to have clinched the title: afterwards he expressed a good measure of bitterness, saying that had the title been fought in Prague it would have been his, blaming poor judging for the decision. Some 500 of more than 4,000 in the audience were Czech fans who nevertheless cheered the fighter on. Saturday’s match marked the third time Konečný has lost to Dzinziruk.
In tennis, the Czech women’s team defeated Israel at the weekend to make it to the prestigious final eight, or elite World Group, in the Fed Cup. Lucie Šafařová defeated Shahar Peer in three sets and the Czechs got their second best-of-three win in the doubles. Iveta Benešová and Květa Peschkeová defeated Sahar Peer and Tzipi Obziler 6:4, 6:3.
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