In Sports News: Top domestic league hockey clubs Pardubice and Kometa face off under an open sky; the Czech U20 hockey team staves off Germany at Worlds; cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer falls to 21st spot after three Tour de Ski events; football’s Aston Villa score late goal against Čech’s Chelsea to draw; Czech quad rider Josef Macháček takes an early lead in the Dakar Rally underway in South America.
In the first such event in more than four decades, Pardubice faced Kometa Brno in an outdoor match in the Czech Republic at the weekend. Echoing the NHL’s winter classic – also played under an open sky – the match at a speedway stadium in eastern Bohemia drew 17,140 visitors – a record for the Czech Republic’s top hockey division the Extraliga. But the match failed to break the all-time record for highest number of attendees – 18,500 – set back in 1962. Previously organisers had hoped to sell as many as 25 thousand tickets.
In the match itself, Kometa drew first blood and led 2:0 after 20 minutes. But hosts Pardubice came back in the 2nd, scoring three. They went on to win the game 4:2.
The 2011 Junior Hockey World Championship underway in Buffalo, NY, will be one the Czech team will want to forget after disappointing results in the preliminary round last week saw them ousted from playoff contention. In the preliminary round, the Czech team only beat opponents Norway but otherwise lost in heavily lopsided games to Canada, Sweden and Russia. On Sunday, the Czech players did pull off one important win: a dramatic 3:2 come from behind finish over Germany, a win that at leaves the Czechs in the elite group. The hero of the game was Ondřej Palát with two goals including the winner. Afterwards, here’s what he had to say:
“When the Germans went ahead 2-1, the mood on the bench was terrible, the worst experience in my life. But the guys pulled together and we said we would keep our heads up and turn it around and win. It was a really important game: it would have been embarrassing if we had lost.”
In the next and final relegation match for the team on Tuesday, the Czech Republic faces Slovakia.
Czech cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer is in 21st spot after three Tour de Ski 2010/2011 events, around 1 minute 31 seconds behind Swiss leader Cologna. On Saturday, the defending Tour de Ski Champion finished 13th in 15 km classic pursuit in Oberstdorf, Germany, telling Czech Radio that he was happy with his performance, if not with the result. He stressed he had problems with his skis, which hampered his speed. In the sprint on Sunday, Bauer lost more ground, which the skier said was no surprise as he had never been a natural sprinter. If Bauer hopes to improve markedly, he will have to make up a lot of lost ground now in Toblach, Cortina d’Amprezzo and Val de Fiemme, Italy, where the last races will be held.
In the English Premier League, Chelsea with star Czech goalie Petr Čech, suffered yet another disappointing finish leaving them six points behind league leaders Manchester United and in fifth spot in the standings. The football team on Sunday drew 3:3 with Aston Villa, after first coming back from 2:1 and then leading 3:2 into the final minute when Aston Villa scored. Despite the draw, Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has insisted the club could still take the Premier League title.
Fifty-three-year-old Czech racer Josef Macháček – a Dakar champion in 2009 – currently leads in the Quad category the Dakar Rally underway in South America. The Czech rider won the opening race on his Yamaha four-wheeler; his fellow Czech teammate Martin Plechatý finished second. In the trucks category, Aleš Loprais, the nephew of legendary driver and six-time Dakar winner Karel Loprais came in second in his Tatra, five minutes off of leader.
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