In Sports News this Monday: Sparta take another step closer to first title in four years with win over relegation-threatened Slavia, while Plzeň fall further off pace; bottom placed Ostrava sack František Komňacký; and Kladno are relegated from hockey’s Extraliga as Zlín reach the playoffs final.
With every weekend that goes by Sparta Prague seem to take another step closer to lifting the Czech soccer league title for the first time in four years. Their latest victory may have been particularly sweet, as it came over traditional rivals Slavia.
However, there was a record 38-point gap between the clubs going into the game and that gulf was reflected in their performances as Sparta made relatively light work of the old enemy with a 3:0 win through goals from captain David Lafata, Josef Hušbauer and Bořek Dočkal.
Sparta midfielder Ladislav Krejčí said he and his teammates had a healthy respect for Slavia despite the fact that the latter currently find themselves battling to stay in the top flight.
“Of course we had to be careful. It was a kind of tricky derby. They aren’t doing well and we’re at the top of the table. But we didn’t underestimate anything, and I have to say we all gave 100 percent and we had the game under control for pretty much the whole time. We didn’t give Slavia a chance, though of course anything is possible. I believed we’d succeed, and when we scored the third goal it was all over.”
Reigning champions Viktoria Plzeň could only manage a 1:1 home draw with Jihlava on Sunday, leaving them a full 10 points behind Sparta with only six rounds remaining.
At the other end of the table Baník Ostrava are bottom on 19 points. Their latest defeat, 1:0 at home to Slovácko, cost František Komňacký his job as coach – almost exactly a decade after he led Ostrava to the league title.
Above them are Bohemians 1905, who now have 22 points after a crucial 3:1 victory over Teplice. Slavia, Znojmo and Brno (with a game in hand) are on 23 points – ensuring there will still be drama at one end of the table at least between now and the end of May.
In Czech ice hockey’s Extraliga one club has already tasted relegation. Kladno have dropped a division after 12 years in the top flight in the wake of a 3:5 loss to Olomouc in a playoffs game on Sunday. Defender Tomáš Kaberle had this to say as the reality sank in.
“It’s nothing to be happy about. We know that every player wants to be in the playoffs but we were in the playoffs to stay in the division. No hockey player wants to go through that. I don’t know what to say. We’re all pissed off but it’s our own fault – we didn’t perform well this season. That’s it – what else can I say?”
While Kladno take on board the loss of their Extraliga status, Zlín are looking forward to the playoffs final after a 5:1 victory over Třinec gave them a 4:2 win in their semi-finals series. The other best-of-seven has gone to the last game – and Zlín will learn on Monday evening whether they will face Brno or Sparta for the Extraliga title.