Sports News

AC Milan, Sparta Praha, photo: CTK

Czech teams had mixed fortunes in European football action this week, with Sparta Prague holding AC Milan to a 0:0 draw in the Champions League and Teplice taking a 3:0 battering from Celtic in Glasgow. The last round of the ice hockey Extraliga is promising to be dramatic, with Pilsen and Kladno going head to head for the final playoffs place. And cross country skier Martin Koukal has been in inconsistent form since returning from injury.

Sparta's Champions League hopes alive after holding AC Milan to 0:0 draw

AC Milan, Sparta Praha, photo: CTK
Sparta Prague held holders AC Milan to a 0:0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie at a freezing Letna Stadium on Tuesday. Milan, featuring world stars like Maldini, Shevchenko and Brazil captain Cafu, were perhaps the better of the two sides, but they just couldn't find a way past the Czech champions. Their most impressive players were Jiri Stajner - playing his first Champions League game - and goalkeeper Jaromir Blazek. Before the game Blazek said it would be the biggest game of his life, and the 31-year-old certainly lived up to the occasion; he was superb throughout and modest after the game.

"There was a bit of luck involved, though that was partly down to the fact their forwards were under pressure from our players. The luckiest thing was that I was standing in the right place when they took shots, and we were also lucky that Shevchenko shot wide in front of an open goal."

Teplice outclassed by Celtic in UEFA Cup

Celtic Glasgow, Teplice, photo: CTK
On Thursday night Teplice, who have already put Kaiserslautern and 2002 winners Feyenoord out of the UEFA Cup, were in Glasgow, for the first leg of their third round tie against Celtic. Having sold several key players during the transfer window and having lost captain Pavel Horvath to injury, Teplice were simply no match for Celtic, who beat them 3:0. Manager Frantisek Straka was philosophical on his arrival at Prague airport on Thursday night.

"Of course we're not satisfied after being beaten 3:0 but I have to say Celtic really are a top class side. We were really on the ropes in the first half, and we only had ourselves to blame for their first and last goals. It was better in the second half, but we just lacked that bit of luck."

The return leg is in Teplice next Thursday. Sparta, meanwhile, visit Milan on Wednesday week.

Pilsen and Kladno go head to head for last Extraliga playoffs spot

Drama is assured on Friday evening in the last round of the ice hockey Extraliga, with Pilsen and Kladno going head to head for the eighth and final place in the playoffs. The game takes place in Pilsen, and the home side need to win: a draw would be enough to see Kladno reach the playoffs.

Mixed results for cross country skier Koukal after return from injury

The Czech cross country skier Martin Koukal, recently recovered from a hand injury, came seventh in the 1600 metres in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday. It was the second best result of the season for Koukal, who last year shot to fame in the Czech Republic when he became 50 kilometres world champion. On Thursday, however, Koukal wasn't in such fine form, finishing 64th in a heat for the 1200 metres classic sprint in Trondheim.