In Sports News this Monday: Slavia edge clear of relegation with win over Bohemians 1905 that leaves latter bottom with four games left; Kalas impresses on Chelsea league debut; Czech hockey juniors reach final at Under 18 Worlds; and Čajánek’s future in question after veteran inspires Zlín to Extraliga title.
While Sparta Prague have for some time looked locked on to win the Czech league title for the first time since 2010, there is still plenty of drama at the bottom of the table with four rounds remaining.
Long struggling Baník Ostrava took a step towards safety on Saturday, climbing from bottom spot with a valuable 2:0 home win over Dukla Prague.
That result intensified the pressure ahead of the most keenly anticipated clash of the weekend, Bohemians 1905 versus Slavia Prague. Both were on a joint lowest 23 points going into Sunday night’s game but a 1:0 win for Slavia through an early Tomáš Necid strike lifted the visitors to three rungs above the two-club drop zone.
However, it was Slavia’s first win in six outings and Necid – who hadn’t scored since February – says he and his teammates still have work to do to hang on to their top flight status.
“For me the team’s victory was important because we’d be waiting for a win for a terribly long time. Of course I’m glad I scored – I’m a striker and it’s not good when a striker has to wait a long time to score. We had one chance and we converted it. But in the second half we fell off the pace and Bohemians outplayed us – that’s bad for us.”
Bohemians are bottom of the table on 23 points, the same tally as Znojmo, who have a game in hand against Príbram on Monday evening, after the recording of our show.
Meanwhile, after a 4:1 win over Liberec in the capital, Sparta Prague need only two points from their remaining four games to be crowned champions.
Elsewhere, Czech defender Tomáš Kalas made his league debut for Chelsea on Sunday, helping them to a 2:0 win over Liverpool in an English Premiere League top of the table clash. The 20-year-old, who has already played for the Czech national team, missed a goal opportunity but otherwise received glowing reviews.
The Czech Republic had an Under 18 World Championship to remember, achieving the country’s first ever participation in the final. They lost 5:2 to the United States in Sunday’s climax in Finland, but coach Jakub Petr says the Czech juniors can have no regrets.
“After losing the last game there’s always a minute when you say, what if? But in the final there was no, what if? The American machine rolled over us from the first substitution. I told the boys to really treasure their success and celebrate it. On the other hand, it obliges them to work hard in the future.”
Here in the Czech Republic, there is much speculation about the future of Petr Čajánek. The 38-year-old was an inspirational captain for Zlín as they overcame Kometa Brno in five games to become Extraliga champions on Friday. After signalling his intention to retire during the season, Čajánek has refused to discuss his future since lifting the title, merely saying that success was “intoxicating”.