In Sports News this week: Viktoria Plzeň’s winning league run comes to an end; Olomouc deepen Sparta suffering; Petr Čech adds another clean sheet to tally; and poor start to biathlon season.
We start with football and the Czech top league with Viktoria Plzeň failing to win for the first time in 16 league starts. And they also failed for the first time since May last year to find the opponent’s net. The West Bohemian team were held to a goalless draw away at Teplice although they had most of the chances. Plzeň were again without striker Michael Krmenčik up front.
Defender Roman Hubník reflected on the end of the 16 game winning run: "We were not playing with the aim of setting some sort of record, that’s just another statistic. We wanted to win the game and consolidate our position at the top of the league with a big lead. But the game was very difficult. At the end I think the point was very important and I hope that it be decisive in the end."
In spite of what might be now regarded as points dropped, Plzeň still retain an enormous lead of 11 points over second placed Olomouc with the season half way through with 15 matches completed and a total of 43 points.
And Olomouc, who only returned to the top league at the start of the season, dumped more misery on a still struggling Sparta Prague and their Italian manager Andrea Stramaccioni. Olomouc hosted Sparta and inflicted a 1:0 defeat on the visitors. The result has Olomouc bosses already cautiously talking about possible European football next year and Sparta languishing in fifth place with 25 points. To put it in perspective, the Prague club have scored around half as many goals as the leaders and conceded around twice as many. There are rumours that Stramaccioni’s era may be soon coming to an abrupt end.
Among the so-called Czech legionnaires, goalkeeper Petr Čech kept a clean sheet for the second match in a row during Arsenal’s 1:0 win against Burnley. Čech now has 196 clean sheets to his name in the Premier League with the 200-mark now within reach.
Elsewhere, striker Patrik Schick appeared for the first time for AS Roma since September 16. The Czech came on late as a substitute and almost got the winner in a goalmouth scramble. The score end 1:1 with the Roma manager seeing it as two points dropped.
With the winter sports season underway, there was something of an anticlimax for the Czech mixed biathlon team in Sweden’s Östersund for the first World Cup event. The mixed fours came in a lowly 13th place way behind the winning Norwegians who were followed by the Italians and Germans. The Czechs main lost time and points during the middle of the course with Veronika Vítková and Ondřej Moravec. The Czechs had been hoping for a bright start to the season.