Czech clubs Liberec, Mlada Boleslav, miss chance at Champions League
Two Czech football clubs have failed to progress in the third and final qualifying round for club football's most prestigious championship, the Champions League. Ahead of their game, few gave tiny Mlada Boleslav much chance at beating Turkey's Galatasaray already up a number of goals on aggregate, but there were hopes on Wednesday that Slovan Liberec might pull through. They faced Spartak Moscow in the Russian capital. Fifteen minutes before time it was close. In the drizzling rain, both sides were tied 1:1 - a situation that would have seen Liberec through. But, it didn't stay that way.
But, Liberec kept working at it and were thrown a lifeline seventeen minutes from time. Defender Martin Jiranek (from the Czech Republic himself) was called on a penalty for bringing down a Liberec player in the box. Hodur took the spot-kick - a low drive that evened the score at 1:1, a score line favouring Liberec on aggregate. It didn't hold for long: the Czech champions' chances were spoiled for good when Spartak's Pavlyuchenko scored eleven minutes from time, bringing the home side visible relief. Only two Czechs took pleasure at the finish - the already mentioned Spartak player Jiranek and defender Radoslav Kovac.