In Sports News this Monday: Family drama as one Straka sacks another at Plzeň ice hockey club after poor run; Kometa Brno and Třinec tied in top spot in Extraliga; “Czech Leicester” Zlín lose for first time this term; and youngster Jankto beats Buffon with first goal for Udinese.
An unlikely family drama has been playing out in the Czech ice hockey Extraliga. After a terrible run of form that has left Plzeň second from bottom after 12 games, the club’s owner and general manager Martin Straka has just sacked his own brother, Michal Straka, as trainer.
Martin Straka said that the West Bohemians had hoped a game against Sparta Prague on Sunday evening might be a turning point for the club. Instead the crisis-hit Plzeň were hammered 5:0, prompting the change.
Michal Straka made this statement after his last game at the helm.
“Of course I’m sorry about the fact I didn’t find the recipe to turn things around, that I didn’t manage to work out where things were going wrong in the team. And also that we didn’t manage to turn around all the games that we lost. I’m sorry about it, but that’s the life of a trainer.”
Martin Straka, a member of the Czech 1998 Olympic winning team, has himself now temporarily taken over on the Plzeň bench alongside the club’s sporting manager Tomáš Vlasák.
Kometa Brno and Třinec are joint leaders of the Extraliga with 32 points apiece after 13 rounds. Brno on Sunday overcame Olomouc 5:3, with three points coming for the Extraliga’s most productive player, Marek Kvapil. Meanwhile Martin Růžička scored a hat-trick for Třinec as they overcame Vítkovice 5:0 in their traditional north Moravian derby.
Zlín, the small Czech soccer club who have earned media comparisons to the English Premier League’s shock winners Leicester City, have been beaten for the first time this season. Zlín’s 2:0 away defeat to Teplice on Saturday ended a 10-match unbeaten streak that made the minnows the surprise package of the opening part of the season. The club, whose stadium has a capacity of just 6,000, were a mere three points away from relegation at the end of last season.
Zlín are now in third place in the league, four points behind another perhaps unlikely name, Mladá Boleslav. The leaders beat Bohemians 1905 3:1 in the capital, with one of those goals former international Marek Matějovský’s first strike in three years. Second are title holders Viktoria Plzeň, who could only draw 1:1 with Slovácko.
Sparta Prague are in fourth after returning to winning ways with a 3:0 defeat of Jihlava. Two of those goals came from David Lafata, who has now scored an impressive 11 goals against Jihlava in seven outings for Sparta.
It was a weekend to remember for young Czech striker Jakub Jankto, who smashed a stunning strike past Gigi Buffon in his club Udinese’s 2:1 defeat to Juventus. It was the first goal for the Italian club for Jankto, who is 20 and started out at Slavia Prague.
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