Sports News

By Rob Cameron

Starting with football, and a first-half own goal by Sparta Prague captain Jiri Novotny decided Wednesday night's Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich. The 1-0 defeat at Prague's Letna stadium ended a run of 14 matches unbeaten for the Czech champions, although both Sparta and European champions Bayern are already through to the next round of Europe's premier club competition.

Both teams suffered injury problems before the game - Sparta were without their injured striker Lukas Hartig while Jiri Jarosik - still recovering from an ankle injury - looked less than 100 percent. Sparta coach Jaroslav Hrebik made no excuses after the match, though, declaring that the reigning European champions were still been a force to be reckoned with - "they're a strong team and it shows, when you have that many out injured and can still field so many good players."

The result means that Bayern top group H and will therefore be seeded in Friday's second phase draw. Sparta finish in second place.

In Thursday's UEFA Cup second round second leg matches, FC Pribram have a mission impossible to claw back their 6-1 away leg deficit against PAOK Salonika of Greece. The odds are slightly more stacked in Liberec's favour, though - the North Bohemian team take on Celta Vigo of Spain, hoping to overturn a 3-1 loss from the first leg a fortnight ago.

Moving on to tennis now, and the Swiss number 10 seed Roger Federer suffered a severe reversal of fortune on Wednesday, when he was ousted in the second round of the Paris Masters Series by Czech outsider Jiri Novak 6-4, 6-7, 7-6. The Czech's surprise victory means that Federer is now out of contention for a place in the end of season Masters Cup tournament. Novak's compatriot Bohdan Ulihrach didn't have it so easy though - he was dismissed 6-2 6-4 by top seed Gustavo Kuerten.

And just one more piece of tennis news - Jan Kukal will stay on as the Czech Davis Cup captain after renewing his contract for one year.