Sports News

Jablonec - Viktoria Plzeň, photo: CTK

In Sports News this Monday: Virus-hit Plzeň go into winter break as league leaders after last gasp goal – coach Koubek praises his charges’ determination; third-placed Jablonec not yet up to challenging top two, says manager Šilhavý; leaders Třinec beaten by Sparta in 26th round of ice hockey Extraliga; and Czech mixed team come ninth in relay in biathlon World Cup event.

Plzeň enter winter break as leaders after dramatic win

Jablonec - Viktoria Plzeň,  photo: CTK
Viktoria Plzeň have gone into the winter break in Czech soccer’s first division in pole position. The West Bohemian side have been neck and neck with defending champions Sparta Prague for some time and needed to take all three points at Jablonec on Sunday after their main rivals had won 2:0 away at Jihlava.

Plzeň came extremely close to falling behind in the title race with that match against Jablonec tied at 1:1 for much of the final 30 minutes. But cometh the hour, cometh the defender who hardly ever scores. Indeed, Radim Řezník’s 90th minute in-off-the-post strike was only his sixth goal in over 170 games. What’s more Řezník was one of several Plzeň players taken ill prior to the game. Coach Miroslav Koubek was unimpressed by his players’ performance – but praised their spirt.

“Our opponents played well and we played badly. But I’ve got to take my hat off to our players. We kept it secret beforehand, but every second member of our team has been struck by a virus. The team isn’t well so we had to rely a lot on our strength of will – and that was probably clear to see in the early stages. But sometimes that’s the way it goes and you just have to get over it.”

Jablonec not yet ready to challenge top two, says Šilhavý

Jablonec - Viktoria Plzeň,  photo: CTK
For their part, Jablonec will not be too disappointed going into the winter break. Now featuring the very experienced defensive midfielder Tomáš Huebschmann, they are in third spot, nine points clear of the rest of the pack, having lost only three games: twice to Plzeň and once to Sparta. Manager Jaroslav Šilhavý says they still have a way to go before really challenging the top two.

“We played way better than Plzeň today but when it comes to the final phase, combination play and experience, the difference is marked. But it doesn’t surprise me. They’ve played in the Champions League or the Europa League and done really well. We might win one in five games against them, but we’re not at a point where we could regularly beat Plzeň or Sparta.”

Pardubice stop rot with win but Slavia continue shipping goals in Extraliga

Zlín - Slavia,  photo: CTK
In the latest, 26th round of the domestic ice hockey Extraliga on Sunday leaders Třinec were beaten 4:1 by Sparta Prague, who are third. The latter’s city rivals Slavia are not doing well, however. After conceding six in their previous two games, Slavia lost 7:4 to Zlín for their fourth defeat in a row. Pardubice, by contrast, have stopped the rot, a 6:4 victory over Litvínov ending a run of five straight defeats for the East Bohemians.

Czechs come ninth in biathlon mixed relay in Östersund World Cup event

Photo: CTK
The Czech mixed team came ninth in the relay in a biathlon World Cup event in Sweden’s Östersund on Sunday. The Czechs won there last year, before winning gold at the Winter Olympics. But this time out last man Ondřej Moravec performed poorly in the shooting, costing the Czechs a podium finish.