Sparta out of European competition following lacklustre 0:0 draw
On Wednesday night Czech football side Sparta Prague had one last chance at redemption in what has been a truly miserable autumn season: a win over 3rd place Swiss side Thun would not have gotten Sparta through to the next stage of the Champions League, but it would have at least guaranteed the team a place in the other major European tournament, the UEFA Cup. But, it was not to be. Sparta failed to raise their game, and came up short - again.
"It wasn't just this game: it was also out match against Thun last time. It's unfortunate. We needed to score and we didn't. They defended with almost ten men back and it wasn't possible to break through. We had a few chances but couldn't convert. It's just too bad. "
The team's coach, Stanislav Griga, was equally resigned:
Prior to the game, the coach was quoted as saying the autumn season would still be bad even if Sparta had won. But, a UEFA spot would have been some consolation, and in the first half, for a while, it looked like Sparta might set the tone. Not to be. Now, the only thing left to return to is the home league, where Sparta - for years the most dominant team, have dropped to a lowly 11th place. Despite being the league's richest team, poor decisions this fall left their mark, a spat with the team's former coach driving out Karel Poborsky the league's only real star. Can Sparta come back? In the first division we'll have to see, but on the European stage it's curtains for now.