Sports News

West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate heads the ball to score his sides first goal during the match between Arsenal and West Ham, photo: CTK

In this week’s Sports News: Petr Čech comes down from the heights in Arsenal league debut; Sparta Prague dethrone Zlín to head the Czech league; title holders Viktoria Plzeň continue to suffer; Karolína Plíšková make it into top 10 but fails to win another final; and Zuzana Hejnová looks to hold onto world championship gold.

Petr Čech makes howler in Arsenal league debut

West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate heads the ball to score his sides first goal during the match between Arsenal and West Ham, photo: CTK
It was a rocky horror show of a Premier League debut for Czech international ‘keeper Petr Čech for Arsenal on Sunday. Čech gifted opponents West Ham the first goal by punching air when he came out for a long free kick just before half time. And defensive errors helped West Ham get a second after the break. Arsène Wenger refused to pick out anyone particular for blame saying that the whole team’s performance was below par.

Sparta Prague topple Zlín as league leaders

Ladislav Krejčí and Bořek Dočkal, photo: CTK
Back to the domestic Czech league and it was back to business as normal, at least for Sparta Prague as they clashed with Zlín. The league newcomers surprisingly topped the Synot league with two wins in a row but Sparta soon showed their superiority. Bořek Dočkal scored twice from the penalty spot with David Lafata adding a third in the 75th minute for an eventual 3:0 scoreline. Zlín coach Bohumil Páník said packing the defence to frustrate Sparta was not an option that he favoured. “We came to play football. It was clear that with their quality Sparta would create some chances. We tried and sometimes succeeded in taking the game to them as well.”

Sparta now top the Czech league.

League champions Viktoria Plzeň struggle to pick up points

Viktoria Plzeň, photo: CTK
Meanwhile though league title holders Viktoria Plzeň, like Sparta, were also on the rebound from a mid-week Champions League exit. But Viktoria Plzeň’s disappointing start of the season continued and they had to rely on a goal from substitute Michal Ďuriš to salvage a 2:2 draw against Slovácko. The scorer of Plzeň’s first goal, Tomáš Hařova, lamented the unconverted chances from overwhelming possession throughout the game. “We should have won today’s game. We have a lot of chances but we conceded two goals from, let’s say, two chances from our opponents. It’s difficult to say how we can change things, we simply didn’t take our chances and let in those goals.”

Karolína Plíšková enters WTA singles top 10

Karolína Plíšková, photo: CTK
In tennis, the Czech Republic now has three players in the top 10 women’s singles ranking. Karolína Plíšková joined Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová in the elite group with a WTA ranking of eight. It’s the first time there have been three Czechs in the top 10. Plíšková proved her form by reaching the finals of the Stanford tournament in the US over the weekend. But she lost in Sunday’s final against Germany’s Angelique Kerber in three sets: 3:6; 7:5; 4:6. It was the Czech’s fifth final this year but she had only won one of them, in Prague.

Zuzana Hejnová sets modest sights for Beijing world championships

Zuzana Hejnová, photo: CTK
Finally, Czech 400 metres hurdler Zuzana Hejnová is heading out for the World Championships in Beijing this to defend the title she won in Moscow two years ago. Hejnová, with three Diamond League victories to her credit this year, says she is only just returning to form after health problems. A repeat of some of her recent times might be enough for a gold medal but Hejnová says the context has changed and now there are around half a dozen rivals in with a chance of the gold. After recent problems she says any medal would be a success.