In Sports News this Monday: Undefeated Sparta pull eight points clear after win over Plzeň; Plzeň prepare to face Lyon in Europa League; Czechs take three medals at World Indoor Athletics Championships; and Berdych exits Indian Wells after “worst match” of 2014.
Sparta Prague took a considerable step towards adding to their long tally of league titles on Sunday evening, when they beat their only real rivals Viktoria Plzeň 1:0 in the capital. The only goal in what is regarded as the biggest game of the second half of the season came after only nine minutes, when Tomáš Přikryl found the net after Nhamoinesu Costa had cut back from the by-line.
With 11 games remaining, the unbeaten Sparta are now eight points clear of Plzeň, who are themselves 11 points ahead of third-placed Slovan Liberec. However, Sparta manager Vítězslav Lavička says there is a lot of work to do before his team can lift what would be their first title in four years.
“I believe we will not fall prey to any mistaken self-satisfaction after increasing our lead at the top of the table, because last season we learned how easy it is to not pick up points against relatively weak opponents. That may have cost us the title. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake.”
Viktoria Plzeň will be in Europa League action on Thursday, when they travel to Lyon for the first leg of their last-16 tie. The Czech side got to this stage via a win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Briefly returning to the Czech top flight, Bohemians 1905 have sacked coach Jozef Weber. The Prague side are at the bottom of the table and five points away from safety.
The Czech Republic picked up three medals at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in the Polish city of Sopot. Pavel Maslák took gold in the 400m in a Czech record of 45.24 seconds, Jan Kudlička achieved bronze in the men’s pole vault and – on the final day of action on Sunday – Jiřina Svobodová picked up silver in the women’s pole vault. After a less than ideal season in 2013, Svobodová attributes her resurgence to greater mental strength – and says her latest success trumps a previous European gold.
“It’s 100-percent more. It’s the world championships, isn’t it? But also it’s been better in terms of my performance. I really appreciate it, and I hope that it gets even better.”
Tomáš Berdych has been knocked out in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, a result that is likely to cost him his number five spot in the world rankings. The Czech men’s number one lost 6-4 2-6 4-6 to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in what he said had been his worst match of the year. His compatriot Lukáš Rosol was beaten 6-4 3-6 2-6 in the second round in Indian Wells by the UK’s Andy Murray.