Sports News

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By Peter Smith

Starting with football, the captain of the Czech national team, Pavel Nedved, has been suspended for three matches following a dangerous tackle on a young player. Europe's governing body UEFA made the announcement after studying video evidence of the Lazio midfielder's knee-high challenge on the Leeds United defender Alan Maybury during a Champions League clash on March 14. The tackle was missed by the referee at the time. Nedved will be available, however, to skipper the Czech Republic for their two vital World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Denmark. Chovanec has virtually a fully fit squad of players to choose from, although he admitted he was concerned about losing the defensive pairing of Karel Rada and Tomas Repka to suspension. The 34-year-old veteran Jiri Nemec has been recalled to the squad as cover. The Czechs take on Northern Ireland in Belfast on Saturday before returning to Prague for their battle with the Danes on Wednesday. The former national team regular Jan Suchoparek will be out of action for three weeks. The 32-year-old Slavia Prague defender requires another operation on his troublesome knee. Turning to the ice hockey play-offs, Vsetin guaranteed themselves a place in the semi-finals with a 3-2 victory at Zlin - the result gives Vsetin an unassailable 4-2 lead in the series. Znojmo's shock 3-2 win at Slavia ties their series at 3-3 with all at stake in the final match. In the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek appears to be back to his best after stopping 16 shots during the match against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Hasek is now tied with fellow Czech Roman Cechmanek for the most number of clean-sheets in the league... something that should make for an interesting debate when deciding which has the best chance of achieving Olympic glory in Salt Lake City next year. Finally onto tennis and Bohdan Unlirach eased himself into the second round of the $6 million Ericsson Open in Miami on Wednesday. The Czech beat Fernando Vicente of Spain 6-3, 6-2.