Turning to sport, of course, and it's been a week of very mixed fortunes for Czech football teams in Europe. Sparta Prague produced the performance of the week by defeating the Moldovans Zimbru Chisinau 1-0 at Letna Wednesday night--a result that takes the Czech champions into the lucrative group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Josef Obajdin was once again the hero for Sparta, neatly placing the winner past Romanenko in the 57th minute. The Czechs had bossed the match prior to the goal, closing down the midfield to nullify the creative threat of Zimbru's Boris Cebotari and Sergei Lepureanu. The visitors only chance came in the first half when a Miterev run through midfield went unchallenged. However, Sparta keeper Tomas Postulka wasn't troubled by the rather weak shot.
Coach Ivan Hasek said after the match "What was most important was that we did not let Zimbru score and all our players performed their defensive duties perfectly."
So, whereas Sparta can look forward to meeting the cream of European football in the group stages, city rivals Slavia went and threw their chance away. Having won 1-0 in the away leg of their qualifying tie against Shakhtar Donetsk of the Ukraine, Slavia appeared to be on their way into the group stages until the very last minute of the return leg here in Prague on Tuesday. The Ukrainians, however, scored a dramatic last-minute equalizer and then settled matters in extra time by scoring a second. So Shakhtar through but for Slavia, only the sorry consolation of a UEFA Cup place.
Sigma Olomouc's admirable run in the Intertoto Cup also reached a sad conclusion when they went down by four goals to two in away leg of their final against the Italian team Udinese.
Just finally, the former Dukla Prague player Vaclav Kolousek is back in the Czech Republic after spending the last three years as a reserve player at the Italian club Salernitana. Kolousek has joined the champions Sparta on loan until the end of the season.