In Sports News this Monday: Two league defeats in two weekends for Sparta – weakened side no excuse, says Lavička; Špotáková beaten for first time this season in Birmingham; Kvitová lifts New Haven title on eve of US Open; and no medals for Czechs at European Swimming Championships.
Title holders Sparta Prague have lost two games on the trot in Czech soccer’s top flight for first time in two years. After being beaten 1:0 at home by Baník Ostrava last weekend, on Sunday the champions lost by the same result away to Dukla Prague. Sparta boss Vítězslav Lavička was without midfielders Hušbauer and Mareček, who were ill, while he rested forwards Lafata, Dočkal and Krejčí ahead of a forthcoming European game. But still, said Lavička, there were no excuses for the team’s performance.
“Recently it seems that our lightness of touch has disappeared when it comes to passing and creating chances. Our creation of goal-scoring opportunities has become overly complicated. But it should be said that Dukla really defended thoroughly. But that’s no excuse for our performance. We’re lacking quality, accuracy and self-sacrifice in shooting positions.”
The only goal of the game came from Tomáš Berger, son of Sparta legend Jan Berger. That strike came midway through the first half and Dukla captain Patrik Gedeon, a former Slavia player, denied suggestions that his side had tried to shut up shop after that.
“We weren’t trying to protect that score-line. I think we were dangerous going forward and had some chances. But they’re Sparta, a high-quality side, and it’s not easy to defend against them. We couldn’t have tried any harder, but that’s the only to play them. I think the last time I beat Sparta was in 2002 or 2001. It was in the Czech cup with Slavia, at Strahov.”
Despite that defeat, the defending champions are only three points behind leaders Slavia, who beat Viktoria Plzeň 1:0 in the capital at the weekend. Sparta welcome Dutch side Zwolle in a Europa League playoff game on Thursday after the sides drew 1:1 last week.
The Czech Republic’s Barbora Špotáková has been beaten for the first time this season. On Sunday the recently crowned European champion came second behind Elizabeth Gleadle of Canada in the women’s javelin at a Diamond League meeting in Birmingham. Špotáková’s compatriot Denisa Rosolová came third in the women’s 400m hurdles.
On the eve of tennis’s US Open, Petra Kvitová triumphed in the Connecticut Open in New Haven with a 6-4 6-2 win over Magdaléna Rybáriková of Slovakia in Saturday’s final. It was the second New Haven title for Kvitová, who is seeded third in the US Open. The Czech has won Wimbledon twice but has never got past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
The Czech team at the European Swimming Championships in Berlin left empty-handed. The biggest disappointment was for Petra Chocová, who failed to defend her 2012 title in the 50m breaststroke, finishing sixth in Sunday’s final.