Sports News

By Ian Willoughby

We start with football, and Slovan Liberec have made it to the last sixteen in the UEFA cup following a 2:1 win over the Spanish side Real Mallorca on Thursday to make it 5:2 on aggregate. The draw for the next round takes place on Wednesday.

Sparta keeper Petr Cech has been named Czech goalkeeper of the year. Hardly surprising considering that Cech, who is 19, broke the Czech clean-sheet record earlier this season - he didn't concede a goal for an incredible 903 minutes.

Slavia Prague meanwhile have parted with coach Josef Pesice after a poor start to the season. Pesice was with Slavia for only six months. Former Blsany coach Miroslav Beranek is considering taking over at the club.

The 19-year-old Czech striker Milan Baros has been refused a work permit to play for the English club Liverpool. Baros has only played in 40 percent of his country's matches over the last two years, short of the 75 percent non-European Union players must have played to get a permit under UK government rules. Liverpool are appealing the decision.

And former Czech international manager Josef Chovanec has denied media allegations that members of the Czech squad were boozing during preparations for a World Cup play-off against Belgium, which the Czechs lost.

Ice hockey now, and Sparta Prague remain on top of the Extraliga after this weekend's matches. Sparta and Pardubice are level on 65 points after 32 games played, while Zlin are a point behind with a match in hand. Zlin lost to Plzen on Sunday - it was Plzen's ninth victory in a row, which equals the record.

The Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannnova came first in the 1500 metres sprint in the World Cup in Cogne, Italy on Sunday. Neumannova now leads the World Cup.

The Czech Kickboxing Championships were called off on Saturday after one of the competitors died. Nineteen-year-old Zdenek Vobejda collapsed during a bout and was rushed to hospital, but died minutes later. Police are looking into the incident.

And finally, Czech tennis player Petr Korda is back in action - but in the seniors tournament. Korda is the youngest senior, at only thirty-three. On Saturday he beat defending champion Pat Cash in the Honda Challenge in London. Korda retired in 1999 after a drugs ban.