In Sports News this Monday: Plzeň claims first Extraliga title in club history; defending Fed Cup champions Czech Republic lose to Italy in semifinals; and in Czech football, Sparta and Plzeň are still neck and neck at top of Gambrinus Liga with six round to go.
In Sunday’s dramatic seventh game of the Czech ice hockey league finals, Plzeň beat Zlín 4:3 to claim the first title in the club’s history. The game, hosted by Zlín, started cautiously and the first goal only came in the second period where Plzeň went ahead twice but Zlín managed to equalize each time.
In the third period, Plzeň scored their third goal with ten minutes to go, putting Zlín under pressure. Some 15 seconds before the end of the period, however, Plzeň’s Slovák admitted to having deflected the puck from his team’s zone. Zlín’s Čajánek won the ensuing faceoff; the puck was passed to Čech on the blue line whose powerful shot found the net, taking the game to overtime.
The game was eventually decided in the second overtime when in the 97th minute, Pzeň’s Martin Straka scored the winner, making the match the longest final game on record. Plzeň captain and owner Martin Straka spoke about his feelings a few minutes after he raised the trophy.
“It’s great satisfaction for all of us – the management, fans, and players. I’ve been with the team for five years; last year, we made it into the semifinals, and today we won. What more can you ask for?”
Zlín put up a good fight in the final series but missed several chances and failed to repeat their league win from eight years ago. For veteran defenceman Martin Hamrlík, the final game was also the last game of his career.
“We had some opportunities in the first overtime but unfortunately, it did not happen. We are disappointed but that’s sport. The chances were even; we missed an open goal several times while they scored. There’s nothing we can do about it, only congratulate Plzeň on their victory.”
The extraliga title is Plzeň’s first in the club’s 57 year-long history. Meanwhile, Chomutov and Liberec avoided relegation from the top division this year after they came on top of the relegation group with two best teams in the second flight, Mladá Boleslav and Olomouc.
Defending Fed Cup champions the Czech Republic lost to Italy in the competition’s semifinals after Italy’s Roberta Vinci defeated Lucie Šafářová in the third singles match 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in Palermo on Monday. The disappointment began on Saturday when both Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová lost their singles, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, respectively. On Sunday, Czech number one Petra Kvitová kept her team’s hopes alive when she beat Errani 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.
The remaining games were postponed because of rain for Monday. But Lucie Šafářová’s ended the Czech team’s ambitions of defending last year’s Fed Cup title.
In the 24th round of the top Czech football division, Sparta Prague beat Baník Ostrava 1:0 on Saturday, with the only goal coming from Cameroon striker Léonard Kweuke. Meanwhile, Plzeň defeated Příbram 2:0 with a goal from Hejda and own goal from Příbram’s Střihavka. With six rounds remaining, Plzeň and Sparta are tied on the top of the table with 53 points, with Plzeň ahead on goal difference. Third are Jablonec, with 41 points, followed by Olomouc with 40 points. The relegation zone, meanwhile, includes České Budějovice and Hradec Králové.
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