Sports News

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Sport now, and the new season got off to a flyer for the reigning champions Sparta Prague. The outright favourites to triumph again in this year's Gambrinus League campaign looked in confident mood as they dispatched Marila back to Pribram with a 3-0 thumping. Jiri Novotny grabbed his team's first goal of the season when he headed home a Svoboda free kick a minute before halftime.

Although the champions controlled huge chunks of the match, the visitors could and should have got themselves back in it midway through the second half. Pribram found themselves three against one in the middle of the Sparta defence, however substitute Michal Seman spurned the opportunity.

Sparta were guilty themselves of wastefulness in front of goal, and the just over 9,200 fans had to wait until the final ten minutes before the game was safe. In the 80th minute, Pribram's new Croatian defender Damir Grlic felled Sionko in the box and Svoboda stepped up to make it 2-0. Two minutes from time Sionko crossed from the right for Obajdin to score.

Sparta's coach, Ivan Hasek, was in a philosophical mood after the match, exclaiming "Today I'm mainly satisfied with the result, because I could identify a lot of faults in our game, but I believe that we will continue to improve."

Sparta's main rivals Slavia began their campaign rather less impressively. Last year's runners-up were held to a 1-1 draw against the Gambrinus League newcomers, Synot Stare Mesto. Both goals came early on; Pavel Nemcicky scored a dramatic own-goal to put Slavia into the lead after only three minutes. However, the home team drew level on 6th minutes when Blaha slotted home Malar's cross. Slavia were outplayed by the minnows for much of the second half, but superb goalkeeping by Slavia's Radek Cerny kept the scores level.

Other big winners on the first day were Liberec - who beat Dynamo Zizkov by four goals to two at home - and the village minnows Chmel Blsany. They pulled off a fine 3-1 win away to Petra Drnovice.

Quickly to tennis and one result from the San Marino International tournament. In the quarter-finals, Jiri Vanek, seeded 8th, fell 7-5 6-1 to the unseeded Alex Calatrava of Spain.