Slavia in driving seat for title after extending lead to six with six games left; Extraliga playoffs start after Liberec come first in regular season; and Sáblíková again sets new world record.
A dramatic, high-scoring weekend of action left Slavia Prague very much in the driving seat to win Czech soccer’s First League. Second-placed Viktoria Plzeň suffered a major dent in their hopes of retaining the title after a crushing 4:0 defeat at Sparta Prague in the capital on Saturday. That game was marred by an incident in which a woman was injured by a flare let off in the stands by a Plzeň supporter. The club has since apologised.
On Sunday Slavia capitalised on Plzeň’s defeat and opened up a six-point gap at the top with six rounds remaining. The Prague side extended the gap with a 4:0 win over Baník Ostrava that gave them their ninth home victory in a row.
Slavia had made seven changes to the line-up that achieved an impressive 2:2 draw at Sevilla in the Europa League in midweek and had only a one-goal lead until the 70th minute – when substitute Lukáš Masopust gave them a two-goal cushion.
“We knew that Baník would be glad of a draw. We were lucky to get the opening goal quite quickly. Then it became a matter of who would score the next one – Baník could have pulled one back on the break. But we succeeded in making it 2:0 and securing the win.”
That game was also notable for the fact that defender Michal Frydrych – who hadn’t started since November – was involved in all four of Slavia’s goals, bagging one himself. However, as a former Ostrava player he did not celebrate.
Liberec came first in the regular season in Czech ice hockey’s Extraliga for the fifth time in the club’s history. They managed to take the President’s Cup despite three defeats in March and ended up two points ahead of second-placed Třinec after 52 rounds. The playoffs in the Extraliga get underway on Monday evening, after the recording of our programme.
Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková again set a new world record on Saturday. A week after setting new bests in both the 5,000 metres and 3,000 metres, Sáblíková shaved another second of the latter record in a World Cup meeting in Salt Lake City, achieving a time of 3:52:027. The three-time Olympic gold medallist and 20-time World Champion is now 31 years old.