Sparta lift Czech league title for first time since 2014

Ladislav Krejčí jr.

Sparta Prague have been crowned champions of the domestic soccer league for the 37th time. A scoreless draw on Tuesday night sealed the storied club’s first title in almost a decade.

A 0:0 draw away to Slovácko on Tuesday night gave Sparta Prague an unassailable advantage in the title race.

There is one round of games remaining in the Czech league’s “superstructure” – when the division is divided into three mini-leagues at the end of the season – and Sparta are three points ahead of bitter rivals Slavia Prague; the fact Sparta have a better record from the regular season means they cannot be overtaken.

Photo: Patrik Uhlíř,  ČTK

Skipper Ladislav Krejčí, who is 24, was one of the drivers of the Sparta’s first title since 2014, scoring 13 goals. He spoke to the media after Tuesday’s match.

“I’m happy I could be the captain of a team that managed to achieve this. Title number 37 was a wonderful motivation for all of us and I took it even more to heart as captain. I never took my eyes off the prize.”

Some 1,500 Sparta fans had made the journey to the game and once the final whistle confirmed the title many flooded the pitch, chanting “champions”.

Photo: Patrik Uhlíř,  ČTK

Earlier in the season things had not looked so bright for Sparta, who entered the mid-season winter break third in the table.

However, after a string of good results late on – including some on the back of penalties – the club were first, two points ahead of Slavia, when the regular season ended.

Lukáš Sadílek  (left) | Photo: Dalibor Glück,  ČTK

Midfielder Lukáš Sadílek said Sparta had overcome hurdles on their way to the title.

“I wouldn’t say our legs were tied, but we did have it in our minds. We had a number of games where we didn’t quite play the way we wanted to. But for us the main thing was success, which we have now achieved. This team is mentally strong and I really appreciate the guys for working hard all season. I think it’s all deserved – and now we’re going to enjoy ourselves.”

Brian Priske | Photo: Dalibor Glück,  ČTK

Speaking to the media, Sparta’s Danish coach Brian Priske – who took over last year – told the media that he had come to a new country, a new league and a new club that had been suffering for a long time.

Sparta first won the league in 1912 and hold the domestic record for most titles. Their latest secures them a place in the Champions League qualifiers for next season.

After celebrating their title win at Slovácko’s small ground in Uherské Hradiště the Sparta squad boarded a bus for Prague, where many more fans were partying at their own stadium at Letná.

Photo: Michal Kamaryt,  ČTK