In Sports News this Monday: no change at top of soccer league but top title contenders need to come from behind to win; Rosický plays for Arsenal U-21s; Liberec and Sparta prepare for Extraliga playoffs final; and has Eliáš played final NHL game?
Plzeň beat Zlín after moment of controversy…
Zlín - Viktoria Plzeň, photo: CTK
After the weekend’s action there has been no change at the top of the Czech soccer league, with Viktoria Plzeň maintaining their nine-point lead over Sparta Prague, who have a game in hand. However, both title contenders had to come from behind to secure 2:1 victories in games that might have looked relatively straightforward on paper. Plzeň were first in action, going behind to Zlín within 10 minutes. The West Bohemians didn’t respond until the 59-minute mark, when Milan Petržela found the net after seemingly controlling the ball with his arm. Indeed, Zlín were so incensed that the home side’s Róbert Matejov was sent off for his protests to the referee. Plzeň duly pressed home their advantage, scoring the winner on 74 minutes.
… while Sparta make heavy work of Příbram ahead of Villareal visit
Sparta Prague - Příbram, photo: CTK
On Sunday Sparta, who were at home, found themselves 1:0 down to Příbram after only three minutes; they needed captain David Lafata to find a decider with only four minutes remaining to keep their dwindling titles hopes alive. Sparta will be in action again at Letná on Thursday when they welcome Villareal in the Europa League quarterfinals. They lost 2:1 in Spain but Jakub Brabec’s valuable away goal will give the Czechs hope of delivering a major upset in Europe’s second-tier club competition.
Rosický turns out for Arsenal U-21s on comeback trail
Tomáš Rosický, photo: Miroslav Bureš
Elsewhere, Czech national team captain Tomáš Rosický played one half of a game involving Arsenal’s Under 21 team on Friday. There have been fears that the injury prone 35-year-old would miss the European Championship after he sustained a thigh injury in early February in his first appearance of the season for the Gunners.
Liberec and Sparta preparing for playoffs final
Thursday sees the start of the ice hockey Extraliga playoffs final featuring Liberec, who came first in the regular season, and Sparta, who finished second. The Prague side hadn’t reached the final in nine years.
Jágr’s Florida to face Islanders in playoffs first round
New York Islanders - Philadelphia Flyers, photo: CTK
In the NHL the regular season has just finished and the final round saw Michal Neuvirth return for Philadelphia Flyers after almost a month out. The Czech goaltender helped the club to a 5:2 over victory New York Islanders on Sunday that confirmed that the Islanders will face a Florida side featuring Czechs Jaromír Jágr and Jiří Hudler in the first round of the NHL playoffs. That series too begins on Thursday.
Eliáš considering future after scoring Devils’ final goal of season
Patrik Eliáš, photo: CTK
Has Patrik Eliáš played his final NHL game? After missing most of the season through injury, the two-time Stanley Cup winner scored New York Devils’ final goal this term as they overcame Toronto 5:1 on Sunday. Speaking afterwards, Eliáš – who turns 40 this week – said that going into the match he was 50-percent set on retiring; however, it had gone so well he would now need to give more thought to his future.