Slavia come back from 3:0 down to secure draw in gripping, VAR-influenced derby; Plzeň increase lead with first win of spring; Strýcová wins Indian Wells doubles with last-minute partner; and Kometa Brno are first club into Extraliga semi-finals.
“The wildest derby of all time” is how one headline described the 287th clash between eternal Prague rivals Slavia and Sparta. Saturday’s game saw visitors Sparta go in at half-time 3:0 up, with two of those own goals, including the opener from Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář.
But the home side refused to throw in the towel. Slavia first got on the scoresheet in the 70th minute but still managed to save a point with a last-minute penalty for a final score of 3:3.
That spot kick was awarded thanks to video assisted referee technology in one of four key VAR decisions that shaped the match.
Slavia goalie Ondřej Kolář had this to say after the gripping encounter.
“I’ve never before experienced being 3:0 down at half-time and then pulling level. But you can see there is great strength in this team. I don’t think any other team could turn things around like that, and certainly not in a derby. Sparta are also really good, so I take this as a little victory. I always believed we could do it, but I believed it even more when we made it 1:3.”
“We can only thank them for supporting us for the whole of the second half, when it wasn’t ideal. Naturally I don’t wonder that they were whistling at the end. I’d whistle at us too for that second half, when we conceded three goals. It’s the worst game of my career.”
Leaders Viktoria Plzeň pulled further ahead of second-placed Slavia on Sunday. Their first victory since the season resumed, an unconvincing 1:0 at Zlín, leaves them nine points in front with a game in hand.
The Czech Republic’s Barbora Strýcová on Saturday claimed the doubles title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells alongside Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan. The veteran duo overcame Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-4 6-4 despite never having played together before. The winners had originally planned to play with different partners but made a late decision to pair up for one of the top tennis events outside the four Grand Slams.
Kometa Brno are the first team to have reached the semi-finals of the playoffs in the domestic ice hockey Extraliga. They overcame Vítkovice 3:1 on Sunday for a 4:0 result on games. Pardubice beat Třinec 3:0 to make it 2:2 in their best of seven series. In the other two quarter-finals Plzeň and Olomouc are drawn at 1:1 on matches and Hradec Králové lead Liberec 2:0.
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