Sports News

Hame Zlin, photo: CTK
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In Sports News: reigning champions Hame Zlin pull off a remarkable comeback in the semi-finals of the Extraliga playoffs; runaway league leaders Sparta Prague are struck once again by the 'curse of Pribram'; former Czech captain Nedved faces old international team-mates Baros and Smicer in the Champions League; Jiri Welsch is warming the bench at the NBA's Cleveland; and Olympic champion Ales Valenta undergoes a spine operation.

Zlin reach final series in Extraliga after remarkable comeback

Hame Zlin, photo: CTK
Reigning champions Hame Zlin have pulled off a remarkable comeback in the semi-finals of the playoffs of ice hockey's Extraliga. At one point Zlin were 3:1 down on games to Vitkovice in the best of seven series, and just one defeat from being knocked out. But they clawed their way back game by game until Friday evening, when they notched up a dramatic 4:1 win over Vitkovice in the final game of the series. The hero of the game was Petr Cajanek, who scored a hat trick for the South Moravian team.

Hame Zlin - Vitkovice, photo: CTK
There was huge controversy after Friday's game, when Vitkovice captain Pavel Kubina - incensed by some questionable decisions - had to be dragged away from referee Petr Bolina by his team-mates. Kubina went so far as to accuse the referee of being bribed, and Bolina says he is considering suing the player for slander.

Meanwhile, Zlin prepare for their final series against Pardubice, who beat Liberec 4:1 on games in the semis. The opening game of the final series is on Tuesday.

Sparta beaten for the first time under Hrebik

Frantisek Cipro, photo : CTK
Runaway football league leaders Sparta Prague were once again struck by the 'curse of Pribram' on Saturday. Sparta hadn't won at Pribram in four years ahead of Saturday's encounter, but any hopes of finally beating their bogey team were dashed in a 3:1 defeat, the Prague side's first under coach Jaroslav Hrebik. But even still Sparta are 15 points clear in the league. Second are Teplice who beat Brno 3:1 at the weekend.

At the other end of the table, bottom club Ceske Budejovice - who only have 15 points to show for 21 games - scored a valuable 2:1 win over Drnovice in their first match under manager Frantisek Cipro.

Nedved faces former Czech team-mates Baros, Smicer in Champions League

On the international stage, former Czech captain Pavel Nedved will be in action against his old international team-mates Milan Baros and Vladimir Smicer on Tuesday, as Nedved's Juventus play Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Meanwhile there is some speculation that Baros may leave Liverpool for Spain's Valencia in the summer.

Crisis of confidence for only Czech in NBA Welsch

Things are not going well for the only Czech in basketball's NBA, Jiri Welsch. Welsch, who is 25, joined the Cleveland Cavaliers after falling from favour at the Boston Celtics. Since then, however, the player has suffered a crisis of confidence and is spending a lot of time on the bench. But Cleveland coach Brendan Malone says he is confident it is only a matter of time before Welsch comes good again.

Olympic champion Valenta undergoes spine operation

Czech Olympic champion Ales Valenta has just undergone a spine operation. The free-style aerial skier is expected to be able to resume training in three or four months' time.