In Sports News: the Czechs win their opening game at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany; Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui comes first at the 16th Annual Prague International Marathon; Čech’s Chelsea demolish Wigan to capture the Premier League title; Bohemians 1905 fans see their team’s final match at Ďolíček stadium - but post-game violence leads to 17 arrests; Sparta look likely to clinch league title.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team got off to a winning start in its opening game at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Sunday, downing opponents France by a score of 6:2. The win over France was considered compulsory and coach Vladimír Růžička was most satisfied with the Czechs’ first period, but was more critical of the second and third, when play was more lax. It’s clear, as far as the coach is concerned, that the team still has yet to “click”.
“Overall things went ok: the first period was excellent, but the second and third weren’t up to my expectations. Of course this is the World Championship and many players are here for the first time, so it isn’t simple for some of them.”
Still, the French team coach David Henderson knew going in that the Czechs would be tough to beat:
“As far as the French team is concerned, we knew coming into this game that it would be very difficult. We are working on being really defensive. We had a tough time in the first but I thought we played better in the 2nd and again in the 3rd. We were moving in the right direction in that aspect and we hope to continue that movement forward for the three games, as we know the last game will decide what happens with us. We aren’t happy to lose 6:2, but we’re working towards getting better playing teams with the speed and skill of the Czechs.”
The Czechs play their next match Norway on Tuesday afternoon and will face their first real test later this week against the Swedes.
Sunday saw the holding of the 16th Annual Prague International Marathon, a race that was won by the Kenyan competitor Eliud Kiptanui. The runner clinched the 42 kilometre distance in 2:05:39, a two-minute improvement on last year’s record. The women’s race was won by Helena Kiprop, also a Kenyan representative. More than eight thousand people overall took part.
The English football club Chelsea, with goalkeeper Petr Čech, clinched the Premier League title at the weekend in their final game of the season, when they demolished opponents Wigan by a score of 8:0. The win against Wigan in front of home fans left Chelsea a point ahead of Manchester United, who had won the title over the last three years. In the game Wigan got only three attempts on target (compared to Chelsea’s ten) and Čech was never seriously threatened - the clean sheet was the goalkeeper’s fourth straight. Chelsea have a chance to make history under new coach Ancelotti if they beat Portsmouth next Saturday in the FA Cup. A win would mean the team’s first league/FA Cup double.
Fans of football’s Bohemians 1905 saw their final match at the weekend at the club’s famed Ďolíček grounds, a 0:0 draw with Kladno. The news that made the headlines, though, was post-game violence involving Bohemians fans but also fans of Slavia, whose teams are now set to share Eden stadium. Together, drunken supporters vandalised the Vršovice town hall in protest of Bohemians’ move, smashing windows and causing damage to property worth 250 thousand crowns. In all 17 people were detained by the police and two may face charges of assaulting a public official.
In other domestic football league news, Sparta appear the closest to winning this year’s league title, despite earning only a 2:2 draw against Liberec in their last game. Luckily for the Prague club, closest rivals Ostrava also tied against Mladá Boleslav. Sparta and Ostrava lead the table, but Sparta is ahead on goals scored. If they can win their final game against Teplice, the title will be theirs. The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes is giving Sparta a 60 percent chance of winning the title, 30 percent to Ostrava if Sparta stumbles, and 10 percent to Jablonec, if both teams suffer defeat and Jablonec is able to down České Budějovice.
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