Hradec Králové overturn champions Sparta Prague on return to top flight
The 2010-2011 season in Czech football’s top flight got underway at the weekend, and what a start it was for newly promoted Hradec Králové. They beat title holders Sparta 2:1 at home on Saturday, ending the Prague side’s 33-game unbeaten run. The winner came on 61 minutes when Václav Pilař – playing his first ever game in the first division – unleashed a fantastic strike that sailed past Sparta goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek. The champions, looking toothless without suspended defender Tomáš Řepka, were unable to find a way back into the game as they suffered their first defeat since May 2009. Sparta manager Jozef Chovanec had this to say afterwards.
“Hradec’s simple style and tactical approach caused us problems, their running and sprinting – we were lagging behind in those areas. We tried more to play football, but played terribly slowly, without running…we didn’t have the enthusiasm that Hradec did.”
Elsewhere, Bohemians 1905 and Slavia Prague drew 1:1 in the season’s curtain raiser on Friday. Several hundred fans held a demonstration outside that match in protest at the fact that Bohemians are now sharing Slavia’s Eden stadium. In the pick of the other games, Slovácko beat Teplice 3:0 at home.
Kreuziger falls out of leading 10 in Tour de France
Roman Kreuziger has dropped out of the first ten at the Tour de France. The 24-year-old Czech cyclist is now in 12th place overall after finishing 28th on stage 14 on Sunday. Kreuziger said a break-away by a group of riders on the last ascent of the day had been decisive.
“They let some riders go through, but from the start I had a problem maintaining the rhythm they established. So I climbed at my own pace because I felt I was lacking a bit of strength, and couldn’t match them on the inclines.”
Záhlavová-Strýcová misses out on first WTA title in front of home fans
Twenty-four-year old tennis player Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová has risen to 39 in the world rankings after reaching the final of the Prague Open on Sunday. The Czech lost what was the first WTA final of her career 2-6 6-1 2-6 to Agnes Szavzay of Hungary.
Tennis players Štěpánek and Vaidišová tie the knot in Prague
Off the courts, it was love-all at Prague Castle on Saturday, when leading Czech men’s player Radek Štěpánek married Nicole Vaidišová, the now retired former Czech women’s number one. Among the guests was ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr, though Štěpánek’s Davis Cup team-mate Tomáš Berdych was not invited.