Sports News

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Turning to sport now, and it has so far been a successful week for Czech football teams in European competition, both the Prague giants securing valuable away victories in the final qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League.

Josef Obajdin was the hero for the champions Sparta, scoring for the second game running, as they pulled off a gritty 1-0 win against the Moldovans Zimbru Chisinau on Tuesday evening. The decisive moment came in the 61st minute when Obajdin met Tomas Rosicky's cross to plant a firm header past the Zimbru goalkeeper Denis Romenko.

That spurred a previously lacklustre Zimbru into action, and the Czechs have their keeper Tomas Postulka to thank for denying the Moldovans an equalizer.

Slavia triumphed by the same scoreline at Shaktar Donetsk of the Ukraine, with a late goal from Tomas Dosek being enough to put Frankisek Cipro's team in touching distance of the lucrative Champions League. However, it was far from plain sailing for the Czechs. The Ukranians dominated most of the match, but much to the disdain of the 32,000 crowd, were guilty of squandering golden opportunities to seize the tie.

Dosek's strike came very late in the game and completely against the run of play. The young striker took advantage of a collision between the Shakhtar goalkeeper Yuri Virt and a defender to lob the ball in an unguarded net.

Coach Cipro said after the game, "We were prepared for Shakhar's attacking football, but we played very well in defence."

Staying with European football, and Sigma Olomouc's chances of reaching the first round of the UEFA Cup look slim after they could only draw 2-2 in the first leg of an Intertoto Cup Final on Tuesday night.

Finally, do you remember Pierluigi Collina? Yes, the referee who inspired a multitude of Czech songs questioning his parentage after giving that penalty for Holland against the Czechs in 2000? Well, readers of a Karlovy Vary newspaper were astounded earlier this week to hear that the Italian--he of the piercing stare and the shiny bald head--was in fact visiting the spa resort. The cheek of it.

Well, it turned out to be a hoax. Collina has actually been getting fit at a sports centre in Italy in time for the kick off of the Serie A season. According to the editor-in-chief of a Plzen paper which reprinted the article, "if the whole thing was a joke, then it was a bad one."