Sports News

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Sport now, and Slavia started their European Champions League campaign with a narrow single-goal victory over Shamkir of Azerbaijan here in Prague on Wednesday evening. A 38th-minute strike from Zelenka was all that separated the two teams on a night when the Czech side were guilty of spurning gilt-edged chances.

They should have been ahead as early as the 14th minute, when Zelenka caught the Shamkir defence on the hop before being hacked down in the box by Jabarrov. However, Mekhtiyev pulled off a superb save to deny Ulich from the spot.

As the second half wore on, Slavia's attacks seemed to become more and more desperate, with the Shamkir defender Yunusov particularly outstanding in staving off the expected onslaught. Slavia appeared to have doubled their advantage when two minutes into injury time, Dostalek headed home a Necas free kick. However, the linesman's flag was already raised.

After the match, Slavia's assistant coach Karel Jarolim admitted that return leg in Azerbaijan would be "extremely difficult".

In the Intertoto Cup, Sigma Olomouc look well placed to make the final after a 3-1 home win over Chmel Blsany in the first leg of the all-Czech semi-final. A goal from Pavel Hapal, a penalty from Stanislav Vlcek and a 63rd-minute strike from Karel Tichota were enough to overturn Blsany's opener in the third minute.

A little bit of football transfer news: Sparta Prague have fended off competition from city rivals Slavia for the signature of Czech Under-21 star Zdenek Grygera from Petra Drnovice.