In Sports News this Monday: Slavia Prague start title defence with shaky win; Bohemians spoil the party for Sparta with late equaliser; and extreme diver Navrátil takes first Czech medal at World Swimming Championships since 2003.
The new season in Czech football’s top flight began at the weekend amid unusually high anticipation following a summer of hitherto unseen spending by the country’s top clubs. And one of the eye-catching new recruits, Halil Altintop, helped titleholders Slavia Prague get off to a winning start. The former Turkey international scored the only goal of their game against Teplice from the spot after a controversial penalty call. However, the champions were outplayed by the visitors for much of the game and Slavia goalkeeper Jan Laštůvka was frustrated by their performance.
“I don’t know why, but we started to get scared. We lost the ball a lot and the game didn’t develop as we would have liked. We lacked a second goal to calm our nerves. But still, even though we just won 1:0 we’ve got the three points, so I think we have to be satisfied.”
Fellow title-contenders Sparta Prague immediately fell off the pace after failing to make home advantage pay in a 1:1 draw with Bohemians 1905. Sparta’s first league game under Italian Andrea Stramaccioni got off to a bright enough start when David Lafata converted a penalty on 16 minutes for his 200th league goal. But Bohemians spoiled the party with an equaliser in the dying minutes. As well as Lafata’s strike, Sunday’s game saw a hero’s welcome for Tomáš Rosický, who was making only his second appearance since returning to Sparta last year.
“It was a wonderful welcome, an emotional moment for me. I have to thank the people for the welcome they gave me. It could have been a wonderful evening for us, but of course the climax of the game destroyed all that. But I have to say Bohemians deserved the point, because they played well.”
Elsewhere Viktoria Plzeň beat Dukla Prague 4:0, with all of those strikes coming in the first half of that encounter. And Baník Ostrava beat Brno 3:1 away, with Milan Baroš immediately getting on the scoresheet after his latest return to his boyhood club.
The Czech Republic have taken their first medal at the World Swimming Championships in 14 years, after Michal Navrátil finished second in extreme diving. The 32-year-old was overjoyed to collect silver in Budapest.
“I’m really glad that it worked out. I wanted to reach the podium but didn’t dare hope. It was very tense, very dramatic to the last round, to the last dive, because each dive counts. I couldn’t afford a single mistake as that would have cost me a place on the podium."
A World Championship but not Olympic discipline, extreme diving is done from a board an incredible 47 metres above the ground.
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