Sports News

Milan Baros, photo: CTK

In Sports News; the Czech Republic's footballers have won the second game of their qualifying, beating Belarus 2:0 in Teplice. Jiri Novak has become the first Czech tennis player to make the top ten of ATP's ranking system since Petr Korda, the champions of ice hockey's Extraliga - Sparta Prague - are stuck in the wrong half of the table, and Czech-born golfer Alexander Cejka has been talking about his first European Tour title in seven years.

Baros shines as Czechs win second Euro 2004 qualifier

Milan Baros, photo: CTK
Two games, two wins, both two-nil - that's the Czech Republic's impressive record so far in their qualifying campaign for Euro 2004. After the mud-bath of Moldova on Saturday, the Czechs took the chance to display a bit more style in Teplice on Wednesday, when they played host to Belarus. After only six minutes, Milan Baros put Karel Poborksy through with a perfect pass - the Sparta player showing his experience as he put it in the net with clinical precision. A quarter of an hour later, Baros gave the home spectators a taste of what Liverpool fans have been getting used to lately, when - in a great burst of individual skill - he cut inside a Belarus defender in the box and scored his seventh goal for the Czech Republic; surely the twenty-year-old will be a pillar of the Czech team for many years to come.

With two goals in the bag, and Belarus not looking too threatening, the Czechs didn't over-exert themselves in the second half of Wednesday's game. Coach Karel Brueckner said the players were tired, while some Czech fans booed their team towards the end. Still, you can't argue with six points in two games.

Novak reaches top ten in ATP rankings for first time

After four years, the Czech Republic again has a player in tennis's top ten. In the latest ATP rankings Jiri Novak is placed at ninth in the world, the highest ranking of the 27-year-old's nine-year professional career. While Novak has not won any tournaments this year, reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open must rank as his greatest success to date. Novak says he wants to remain in the top ten for as long as possible, while his coach - and former Czech Fed and Davis Cup trainer - Jan Kukal says it is great for the Czech Republic to have such a highly-ranked player. The last Czech in tennis's top ten was Petr Korda.

Extraliga champions Sparta plan purchases to help end poor run

Last season's Extraliga champions Sparta Prague currently lie in eighth place, having won only two of their last nine games. Sparta chairman Martin Urban admits the team is out of form, and has made 80 million crowns available for the purchase of new players. Assistant coach Pavel Hynek says however that Sparta often start the season poorly, but still manage to come good in time to chase the honours.

Czech-born golfer Alexander Cejka glad of first title in seven years

The Czech-born golfer Alexander Cejka has been talking about his win in the Lancome trophy in Paris on Sunday. Cejka, who is from Marianske Lazne in west Bohemia but holds a German passport, lives in Prague and is married to a newsreader on TV Nova. Speaking about his first European Tour title in seven years, Cejka said the wait had felt more like 25 years. The 31-year-old player recently made a rare appearance on a Czech golf course, when he took part in a charity event to raise money for flood victims. Cejka's four-year-old son is the youngest member of Berovice golf club.