Sports News

Photo: ČTK

In Sports News this Monday: Czechs finish 15th in Sochi Olympics’ medal table; national football team face tough group in Euro 2016 qualification; Plzeň draws with Donetsk in first leg of their Europa League’s knockout tie; and NBA’s only Czech player debuts for Denver Nuggets.

Czechs finish 15th in Sochi Olympics’ medal table

Photo: ČTK
The 88-member strong Czech Olympic team brought home eight medals from Sochi, setting a new record for the winter games. Two golds came from snowboarder Eva Samková and speed-skater Martina Sáblíková, respectively; the team also took four silver and two bronze medals in Russia. Czech biathletes, who did not win any medals at any previous games, are largely responsible for the record tally with five out of the eight medals. Overall, the Czech team finished 15th in the Sochi Olympics’ medal table.

Czechs draw Netherlands, Turkey for Euro qualification

Photo: ČTK
The Czech national football team has been drawn in Group A for Euro 2016 qualifying along with the Netherlands, Turkey, Iceland, Latvia and Kazakhstan. Despite landing in what is considered as one of the qualification’s most difficult groups, Czech manager Pavel Vrba hopes his team will be able to book a spot at the event in France.

“The Netherlands are the favourites and Turkey are unpredictable. But there is another strong opponent, Iceland, which put up a tough fight in the World Cup qualification and only narrowly missed the play-outs. The group is not an easy one but our goal is to advance to the Euro [finals].”

The Czechs, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil this year, will launch their Euro 2016 campaign in September when they host the Dutch. A month later, they are set to travel to Turkey.

Europa League: Plzeň draws with Donetsk, Liberec loses to Alkmaar

Czech league titleholders Viktoria Plzeň drew 1:1 with Shakhtar Donetsk at home on Thursday, in the first leg of their Europa League’s knock-out stage tie. Plzeň took the lead in the 62nd minute with a goal from Tecl but the Ukrainian side equalized just two minutes later. The game was Plzeň’s first under new manager Dušan Uhrin who remains hopeful for the second leg.

“We were leading 1:0 but Shakhtar created a number of opportunities to score. However, if had not made a mistake, it would have been better to maintain the advantage. But the tie is over two legs and the result remains open.”

Liberec, meanwhile, lost to Alkmaar of the Netherlands 1:0 at home. The second legs of the Europa League’s last-32 ties are scheduled for the coming Thursday.

Gambrinus liga kicks off after winter break

Viktoria Plzeň - Baník Ostrava,  photo: ČTK
Staying with football, the Czech domestic top division kicked off at the weekend after a winter break. Table leaders Sparta Prague are only set to play Brno on Monday afternoon; Viktoria Plzeň, meanwhile, secured three points when they beat Ostrava 2:1 away, and are now tailing Sparta by two points. The game became a subject of a controversy when in the 20th minute, referees disallowed an Ostrava goal. The head of the Czech FA’s refereeing commission, Dagmar Damková, said on Monday the goal should have stood, adding that the erring referees will be punished.

Basketball: Veselý makes debut for Denver Nuggets

Photo: Miguel Ugalde,  stock.xchng
The only Czech player in the NBA Jan Veselý made his first appearance for the Denver Nuggets at the weekend, after having been traded there from the Washington Wizards. The 23-year-old Czech scored five points and five rebounds in Denver's 117-89 loss to the Bulls on Friday. On Sunday, Veselý earned six points and had four rebounds against the Sacramento Kings in a home game which the Nuggets lost 109-95.