Sports News

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By Ian Willoughby

We start with ice hockey and the news that Sparta Prague have stretched their lead at the top of the Extraliga to four points following a 6:2 defeat over Zlin on Tuesday. Zlin fall to third place, behind Pardubice who beat Litvinov 5:0.

Czech motor racing fans may be disappointed to hear that Tomas Enge is unlikely to be driving in Formula 1 next season. Enge became the first ever Czech Formula 1 driver when he drove for the Prost team at the end of last season. Enge is expected to remain in the lower category Formula 3000.

Karel Loprais
And as the Dakar rally draws to a close, the two Czech Tatra trucks taking part are in second and third place. The BR Lubrax team led by Tomas Tomecek are second overall, followed by the Tatra Team helmed by six-times winner Karel Loprais. The rally is due to end on Sunday.

World football's governing body FIFA has compiled a list of the longest clean sheet records in the history of the game. Sparta Prague's Petr Cech - who is only 19 - came 50th in the list - he holds the Czech record of 903 minutes. The all-time record was set by the Belgian keeper Dany Verlinden, who kept a clean sheet for Bruges for 1,390 minutes in 1990.

The English premiership side West Ham are reportedly on the verge of signing the Sparta Prague defender Vladimir Labant for a million pounds, or 55 million Czech crowns. Labant, who is Slovak, flew to London on Wednesday for a medical. In other transfer news, the erstwhile Czech international Pavel Horvath has joined Teplice from Galatasaray.

Moving on to tennis and the Czech player Jiri Novak has reached the semi-final of the Aukland Open in New Zealand ahead of the Australian Open which begins next Wednesday. Novak defeated the Spanish player Felix Mantilla 6:3 6:3. Another Czech player, Michal Tabara, was beaten 5:7 7:5 6:4 by the UK's Greg Rusedski.