In Sports News this week: Czech football team loses winning ways in European Championship qualifiers; Petr Čech’s long reign comes to an end; Litvínov and Třinec take early leads in the play-offs; and Africans again dominate Prague Half Marathon.
We start the sports news with football and the Czech national team lost their 100 percent winning record in the 2016 European Championship qualifications at home against Latvia on Saturday. The visitors took the lead in the 30th minute after a mix up from a Czech free kick with Sparta Prague’s Bořek Dočkal taking the blame. The Czech side were better in the second half but had to wait until the last minute for substitute striker Václav Pilař to equalise. The Czechs are still top of the qualification table but only one point ahead of Iceland. Manager Pavel Vrba was asked after the match whether the draw complicated qualification.
“It is obviously a complication. After the previous game we were overjoyed because we picked up points which we weren’t counting on. Today, on the other hand, we probably thought we would get more points than we have. But I should repeat that that I think a draw was the right result. Ito f course means that these points we dropped at home we must pick up against Iceland. I hope that we can pull that off and the situation will be alright. Qualification is like that.”
Staying with football, Czech and Sparta Prague attacker David Lafata was named footballer of the year this week. Lafata replaces Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech who has taken the title for the last six years in a row. Lafata was the second highest scorer in the Czech top league last season with his goals helping Sparta Prague to win the Czech league, cup, and super cup. The 33-year-old’s reputation took a dent last week after he admitted diving in the penalty area to draw a crucial league game.
In ice hockey, Litvínov and Třinec have taken early leads in the play-offs. Třinec won Sunday night’s dramatic duel against Sparta Prague in extra time 5:4 after a more convincing 6:2 victory in the first game. Vladimír Roth scored the winning goal in Sunday’s game and had this to say about the match: “We went to sleep in the first period and weren’t moving well. During the break we said that we would be a different team afterwards and that’s what helped us turn things around. Sparta and we are both strong teams and it was up and down a lot but with a happy end for us.”
Litvínov left it till the third period to draw level and then take a 2:1 lead in the second tie against Kometa Brno after the visitors dominated for most of the match. Litvínov looked a lot more assured after taking an early two gaol lead in the first match with the final score ending 3:2 in their favour.
Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru won the Prague Half Marathon in 59:51 seconds. His countryman Wilfred Murgor was second, six seconds behind with the race favourite Leonard Komon pipped into third place. The fastest woman was Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa with a personal best of just over 1 hr and seven minutes. The windy conditions meant that hopes of breaking the course record set in 2012 quickly disappeared.
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