In Sports News: The Extraliga hockey semi-finals get underway between Vítkovice and Pardubice; in football, Plzeň and Sparta come away with wins, leaving the top of the table unchanged; the Czech national squad readies for a key match against Spain in Euro qualifying; and Abraham finishes 13th in his MotoGP debut.

Hockey: Vítkovice and Pardubice split first two games in semi-finals

Vítkovice - Pardubice, photo: CTKVítkovice - Pardubice, photo: CTK The Extraliga hockey semi-finals got underway at the weekend with Pardubice facing Vítkovice at home in the first game. Heroes in the opener were all from Vítkovice: team captain Jiří Burger scored twice while 33-year-old goalie Roman Málek, who has been hot in the post-season, stopped all Pardubice shots. The final score in Ostrava was 4:0. But a day later Pardubice came back, scoring three goals to edge Vítkovice 3:2. Both Vítkovice goals came on shots from Ujčík, who set a new record for post-season goals: 54.

The other semi-final series between Třinec and Slavia gets underway on Monday.

Football: Plzeň, Sparta victorious

Sparta Prague - Brno, photo: CTKSparta Prague - Brno, photo: CTK In football, both Plzeň and Sparta were victorious in their last games, leaving the top of the standings unchanged, Plzeň on 51 points and Sparta with 46. Plzeň earned their first win at České Budějovice in 13 years (a score of 2:1), while Sparta defeated Brno 2:0. Jablonec, in 3rd place, only managed a 1:1 draw against 11th place Slovácko.

Czech national squad faces Spain on Friday

Coach of the Czech national football team Michal Bílek, photo: CTKCoach of the Czech national football team Michal Bílek, photo: CTK The Czech national football team is readying for an all-important match against Spain in their 2012 European championship qualifier. The two teams will face each other in Spain on Friday. The Czechs are hoping to earn at least a point against the defending European and World Champions to keep qualification hopes alive. The team is currently in second place in its group with six points. Midfielder and team captain Tomáš Rosický is expected to play, as is striker Milan Baroš, back from injury. After Spain, the Czech squad will face Liechtenstein on March 29.

Chelsea move up to 3rd spot in Premier League standings

London football club Chelsea, with goalkeeper Petr Čech, defeated Manchester City 2:0 in their league match-up on Sunday, seeing Chelsea surpass Man. City for 3rd spot. The league winners from last year are now four points off second-place Arsenal and nine points behind leaders Manchester United but have a match in hand. Coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed the hope that Chelsea could still win this year’s league crown but made clear the side would need to win its nine remaining matches to have a realistic chance.

Young Czech racer debuts in MotoGP

Karel Abraham, photo: CTKKarel Abraham, photo: CTK Young Czech motorcycle rider Karel Abraham made his debut in MotoGP in Qatar. Although the 21-year-old racer came 13th in the race – the last of all those who finished – he was happy with the result, although he expressed disappointment fellow Czech rider Eliáš, who was behind him, fell. The race was won by Australian Casey Stoner.