In Sports News this Monday: Gap at top of soccer league narrows as Plzeň play out stale draw with Mladá Boleslav and depleted Sparta beat Karviná ahead of Southampton clash; Jágr ends goal drought in style; and Olympic star Krpálek named Czech judoka of year.
The gap between main title contenders in the Czech football league, Viktoria Plzeň and Sparta Prague, has narrowed slightly. Plzeň are still top of the league, two points ahead of surprise package Zlín, after a goalless away draw at fourth-placed Mladá Boleslav at the weekend. That game was notable for its lack of chances, with a total of only five attempts on goal in the 90 minutes. Mladá Boleslav striker Stanislav Klobása said, however, that few would have been surprised by the outcome.
“I even read betting advice that said a 0:0 result was the most likely outcome, so it could have been expected. Everybody did their jobs and there just weren’t any chances. We were hoping to make up ground on Plzeň but unfortunately it didn’t work out. But it was clear that it was a clash between two solid teams. Both sides tried to make the fewest possible mistakes and that led to the game not being so attractive.”
Sparta are still trailing by some distance but their gap on Plzeň has now been cut to seven points after the Prague club beat Karviná 3:0 in the capital. Sparta achieved that win despite missing a long list of regular starters due to injury and suspension. Coach David Holoubek had even joked beforehand that it would be easy to pick the team – anybody remaining from the first team squad would be thrown on.
“It’s a very complicated situation. At 10 this morning the doctor called to say that Lukáš Mareček had been given an infusion – that he was ill and hadn’t slept all night. So I’m glad that he even played. Right now I’m fielding all the healthy players. I’m also going to call up players from the under 19s. There’s no other way – we don’t have any other players.”
Sparta’s situation is unlikely to be much changed by Thursday, when they welcome Southampton in the Europa League. Sparta currently lead their group, two points ahead of the English club.
Jaromír Jágr had his best game of the season on Saturday, scoring twice to end a 13-game barren streak and help his Florida Panthers to a 4:1 win over Ottawa Senators. The 44-year-old also notched up one assist in that match. On the down side, Jágr again lost a tooth in that encounter, making a total of five teeth the Czech ice hockey legend has had knocked out in games against Ottawa this season.
Lukáš Krpálek has completely inevitably been named Czech judoka of the year. It is the eighth time in the row he has won that accolade, which crowns a year in which he became the first ever Czech to take judo gold at the Olympic Games.