Sports News

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Sport now, and in football Jan Koller finally ended his dry spell in front of goal as the Czech Republic ran out 4-0 victors over Iceland in their World Cup qualifyer in Teplice.

In atrocious conditions in Teplice, the home team dominated from the start and duly took the lead in the 17th minute, captain Pavel Nedved playing a long ball into the box for Koller to head in off the post.

What little threat the Icelanders did pose came mainly from their striker Eidur Gudjohnson. When Fukal bundled over the Chelsea man on the edge of the box in the 39th minute, Gudjohnson's resultant free-kick was hit straight into the arms of Pavel Srnicek.

Two quick goals just before the break, however, killed off any lingering Icelandic threat. In the 41st minute, Koller doubled the Czechs with a header from a Pavel Horvath corner, and just before the interval Pavel Nedved capitalized on slack defending by firing a close-range shot past Kristinsson.

Nedved capped a wonderful performance with a free-kick strike in off the post in the dying minutes of the second half.

After the match, Koller expressed his relief at finally ending his barren run in front of goal. "I'm glad I've broken the drought," said the lanky Anderlecht forward. "It's good that we scored early on."

Josef Chovanec praised the players and the fans after the match. "We deserved to win," he said. "We created a lot of chances and dictated the game. The crowd was also excellent for putting up with the terrible conditions."

The result means that the Czechs are top of the qualifying group with maximum points. The win was also the country's 15th consecutive win in tournament qualifying matches.

Well, Jan Koller may have missed out on his hattrick but the 12-year-old bay gelding Peruan didn't, as the 8-1 favourite won his third consecutive Grand Pardubice Steeplechase on Sunday.

Ridden by Czech jockey Zdenek Matysik, Peruan had held back for most of the race before sprinting over the final nine fences to cross the winning post one-and-a-half lengths clear.

The 20-1 outsider Belovodsk had led for most of the race, but had to settle for second. Czenka came third as 10 of the 15 starters finished the grueling circuit.

The infamous Taxis ditch this year claimed no casualties at all.