Sports News

By Ian Willoughby

First up football, and on Friday all eyes were on who Sparta Prague would draw in the next round of the Champions League. Sparta will face Portugal's Porto, Parathanaikos from Greece and...wait for it...none other than Real Madrid, the most successful club ever in European competitions.

Given that Real boast the two most expensive players in the world - Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane - along with such stars as Raul and Roberto Carlos, you can't blame those at Sparta who say that they are aiming for second place in the group. Real visit Sparta's Letna stadium on November 21.

In the UEFA cup, Liberec have drawn Mallorca. Liberec overcame a 3:1 deficit from the first round to defeat another Spanish club, Celta Vigo, 3:0 on Thursday. Jan Nezmar had a fairy-tale game for Liberec - he came on as a substitute and scored twice - his first after only a minute on the pitch and his second in the last minute of normal time. He and his team-mates later celebrated by shaving their heads. They play the first leg against Mallorca at home on November 22.

Sparta goalkeeper Petr Cech has entered the record books, having now kept a clean sheet in domestic games for an incredible 855 minutes, which is nine and a half full games. The player is only 19 years old.

Cech broke the clean-sheet record in a 6:0 drubbing of Brno at the weekend. Sparta remain top of the league, followed by fellow Prague teams Viktoria Zizkov and Bohemians. Zizkov beat Drnovice 3:2 while Bohemians came away from Blany with a 2:0 victory.

The top scorer in the first division with nine goals is Milan Baros of Ostrava. The 19-year-old is expected to complete a move to Liverpool later in the season.

In ice hockey, Czech star Jaromir Jágr has suffered a recurrence of a knee injury. The NHL star was injured in a collision two minutes from the end of a draw between his team the Washington Capitals and the Phoenix Coyotes.

In the domestic game, Zlin stay on top with 20 games played. On Saturday second place Pardubice, who have played 21 games, drew 3:3 with third place Sparta Prague, who have played 22.

Many of Monday's sports pages carry photos of 18-year-old gymnast Jana Komrskova, who just missed out on bronze at the Gymnastics World Championships in Ghent, Belgium at the weekend. Komrskova was not too upset with her fourth place final position, saying it was the greatest achievement of her life.

Lastly, the Czech government's spokesman, Libor Roucek, took part in the New York marathon on Sunday. Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda also participated. The two have run several marathons together.