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Soccer World Cup Qualification: Discredited Reputation

The Czech national team mixed one success and one failure in two games of the third 2002 World Cup qualification group. It easily defeated Iceland 4-0 October 7, but four days later it lost two points after a scoreless tie in Malta. After three games the Czech Republic leads its group's standings with seven points, two and three points ahead of its biggest opponents, Denmark and Bulgaria, respectively. Qualification will continue in the spring.




Czech Republic - Iceland 4-0 (3-0)

After winning in Bulgaria, the Czech team welcomed Iceland to Teplice. The Czechs' managed to break the Iceland defense early and decided the game with three goals in the first half. Striker Jan Koller was the hero of the game, scoring the first two goals (18th and 41st minute), breaking his scoring drought in a return to past form. Captain Pavel Nedved, who was with Koller the best player on the field, scored the third Czech goal in the 43rd minute.
The Czech team tempo did not slow after the break and the game became a Czech exhibition. Only Koller's unsuccessful attempt to convert a penalty kick was an off note, but Nedved corrected the impression with his last-minute free-kick goal.




Malta - Czech Republic 0-0

The game between the Czech Republic and Malta demonstrated the irreparable complex of the Czech team against this poor opponent. The cause of the Czechs' repeated failures probably lies in the opponent's defense, the bad field and Malta's less-than-dignified play.
In the game in Malta, the Czechs were unable to take advantage of their chances. Goalkeeper Muscat stopped headers from Sionko, Bejbl and Fukal as well as shots by Horvath and Nedved. Koller's chance in the 47th minute finished wide. The key moment of the game occurred in the 53rd minute when defender Tomaš Řepka was sent off after returning a blow. Then the Czechs continued their vain struggle to break Malta's defense and in the end they had to accept their first loss of points after 15 qualification wins in a row.

David Pilar/Mirek Langer




Champions League: Sparta Praha Loses in Donetsk 1-2

With seven defensive players, sent onto the pitch by coach Ivan Hasek for reliable defense and fast counterattacks, Sparta Praha played its fourth game in the soccer UEFA Champions League in Donetsk, Ukraine. The beginning went perfectly for Sparta, as goalkeeper Virt only deflected Rosicky's shot and after Labant's corner kick Jiri Jarosik scored.
The Shakhtar replied with heavy pressure, goalkeeper Postulka had to make several excellent saves and he also cleared a penalty kick after Vorobei's fall in the penalty box. Donetsk, however, tied the score before the break: Glevetskas' header came after a corner kick in the 35th minute. Atelkin then hit the post, as did Sparta's Labant after the break.
In the 87th minute Sparta lost the ball in the middle of the field and Donetsk's chance was stopped by Grygera's hand-save in the box. Sparta's defender was sent off and Zubov converted the penalty. Sparta has almost lost its chance to advance to the second phase of the Champions League and Sparta's place in the UEFA Cup, where the third team from the group's standings will advance, has been complicated.

Adam Fendrych/Mirek Langer




Soccer League: Champion Sparta Loses First Game

Sparta Praha suffered its first loss this season, in the 10th round of the soccer league. In the Prague intracity derby it lost at Bohemians 2-4. In the incomplete standings, Sparta fell to the second place behind Liberec, which defeated Ostrava. Sparta's first defeat could be traced to captain Jiri Novotny's illness, the team's defense without him was not as consistent as usual and Bohemians had too much room for combinations. Bohemians forward Hartig played very well, assisting on three of the four Bohemians goals. Sparta lost in the Bohemians' Vrsovice stadium for the first time in 14 years.
Results of the 10th round: Ceske Budejovice - Viktoria Zizkov 2-2, Bohemians Praha - Sparta Praha 4-2, Slavia Praha - Brno 2-1, Liberec - Ostrava 3-0, Blsany - Jablonec 4-0, Stare Mesto - Olomouc 3-1, Drnovice - Pribram 0-1, Plzen - Teplice 0-2. Postponed game of the 6th round: Ceske Budejovice - Teplice 2-2.
The standings are still incomplete due to some postponed games. Liberec leads with 23 points, two points ahead of Sparta, Stare Mesto is third with 16 points.

Petr Adam/Mirek Langer




Captain Reichel Moves Litvinov into Extraleague Lead

The hockey players of Litvinov earned the full amount of eight points from the last four rounds and moved to the top of the extraleague. The Litvinov team is led by captain Robert Reichel (a longtime NHL player), who has scored nine goals in the last seven games. After beating Ceske Budejovice, Litvinov managed to defeat the last two seasons' champions: Sparta and Vsetin. Karlovy Vary fell into the last place after Kladno managed to win its last two games in overtimes. Sparta forward Patrik Martinec leads the scoring table with 20 points on nine goals and 11 assists. Results of the 11th round: Karlovy Vary - Vsetin 1-2, Pardubice - Havirov 5-1, Litvinov - Ceske Budejovice 2-1, Kladno - Sparta Praha 1-5, Vitkovice - Znojmo 3-2, Zlin - Plzen 4-2, Slavia Praha - Trinec 4-2. Results of the 12th round: Znojmo - Plzen 4-0, Trinec - Zlin 5-2, Ceske Budejovice - Slavia Praha 0-0 OT, Havirov - Kladno 4-2, Vsetin - Vitkovice 4-2, Sparta Praha - Litvinov 3-4, Karlovy Vary - Pardubice 2-4. Results of the 13th round: Pardubice - Sparta Praha 2-1, Litvinov - Vsetin 4-2, Kladno - Ceske Budejovice 5-4 OT, Vitkovice - Havirov 5-2, Zlin - Karlovy Vary 4-3, Slavia Praha - Znojmo 4-4 OT, Plzen - Trinec 0-2. Results of the 14th round: Zlin - Sparta Praha 0-2, Vitkovice - Trinec 2-2 OT, Plzen - Ceske Budejovice 4-2, Kladno - Pardubice 3-2 OT, Litvinov - Karlovy Vary 4-1, Znojmo - Havirov 2-2 OT, Slavia Praha - Vsetin 1-2. Standings: 1. Litvinov 29 points, 2. Sparta Praha 28, 3. Vitkovice 28, 4. Pardubice 26, 5. Vsetin 26, 6. Plzen 25 , 7. Zlin 20, 8. Trinec 19, 9. Slavia Praha 16, 10. Havirov 16, 11. Znojmo 15, 12. Ceske Budejovice 14, 13. Kladno 11, 14. Karlovy Vary 11.

Petr Adam/Mirek Langer




Peruan Completes Great Pardubice Steeplechase Hattrick

Peruan, a 12-year old brown horse, won the Grand Pardubice (Velka pardubicka) steeplechase for the third time in a row. With jockey Zdenek Matysik aboard, Peruan won the 110th year of the race. Jockey Jan Havlicek finished on Belovodsk in second place after three third places. In the race, Peruan waited at the back of the field and moved ahead in the last third of the race. Only Belovodsk was able to stay close and at the beginning of the backstretch Peruan led by a few centimeters. Behind Belovodsk, Dušan Andres finished third with Czanka. A total of 10 horses crossed the finish line.
Results of the 110th Grand Pardubice Steeplechase: 1. Peruan, 2. Belovodsk, 3. Czanka, 4. Marketplace, 5. Rent.

Petr Adam/Mirek Langer




SPORTS IN BRIEF

* Czech cyclist Jan Hruska was suspended for six months for doping. Hruska tested positive for nandrolon during the Tour of Spain. Because of the investigation, Hruska had to miss the Sydney Olympics and the World Championships. The punishment is on the low end of the scale, the disciplinary commission gave him the benefit of the doubt as Hruska claimed the substance got into his body without his knowledge.
* Jiri Jezek won the first gold medal for the Czech Republic in the Paralympic Games, which are taking place in Sydney. Jezek won the one-kilometer time-trial in track cycling competitions. A total of 57 Czech athletes are participating in the Games.

Stepan Vorlicek, Gabriela Pribilova/Mirek Langer