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Photo Caption: Praha Slavia, the top team in the Czech domestic league, will visit Brno on Sunday. The teams tied in their previous meeting. Photo Credit: FC Zbrojovka.

Brno, Mar 31 (BD) — Czech Republic loses in Wales but second in Group E; Lokomotiva women’s football leap-frogs Liberec in table; local women’s basketball teams in tough postseason semifinal battles; Basket Brno to finish Group A1 with blitz of games; Extraliga baseball Opening Day postponed by a week; and HC Kometa swept from postseason.

MEN’S FOOTBALL

Zbrojovka Has 10 Games To Justify its Place

FC Zbrojovka, which returned to the Fortuna Liga this season, is running out of time if it wants to stay in the top league in the country.

After a weekend off for international play, there are just two months left in the season. Zbrojovka (3-7-14, 16 points) is in 16th place.

This Sunday, Zbrojovka will host runaway league-leader Slavia Praha (20-4-0, 64) at 6:30 p.m. One of the four ties on Slavia’s record was from Zbrojovka in the fall.

Strictly from placement in the standings, Zbrojovka has three “winnable” home games against 14th-place Teplice (6-5-13, 23) in late April; against 15th-place FK Mladá Boleslav (4-8-12, 20) in early May; and against 17th-place Opava (3-6-15, 15) in mid May.

FK Teplice and FK Mladá Boleslav are the teams to catch if Brno is to stave off a return to the lower league.

Cross-town rival SK Líšeň 2019 tops the lower-league standings and looks to be in a good position to move into the top league. SK Líšeň 2019 has even attracted national television. They will be broadcast to the nation by CT Sport when they host FC Vysočina Jihlava, which is in 10th place, on Monday, April 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Should the Brno teams switch leagues, it would be a major embarrassment for the long-time dominant club, FC Zbrojovka, which has signed an agreement to allow SK Líšeň 2019 the use of its facilities and stadium, if necessary. Unfortunately, Brno has simply been unable to make a move up the standings to protect its position. Best case scenario: both teams stay in the top league and share the stadium. 

For updated information and the schedule for FC Zbrojovka Brno games, go to the league website at https://www.fortunaliga.cz/. The team website is at https://fczbrno.cz/. Use Google Chrome, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Translate to English”.

Czech National Team Goes 1-1-1 in First Three World Cup Qualifying Games

The Czech Republic is in second place in the Group E standings after going 1-1-1 in the first three World Cup Qualifying games: a 6-2 win at Estonia; a 1-1 tie against group-favorite Belgium in Prague; and, disappointingly, a 0-1 loss in Wales on Tuesday.

In Wales, the Czech Republic was weakened when Patrik Schick was given a red card at the beginning of the second half. Wales got a red card a half-hour later, but Daniel James scored minutes later to put the home team on top. It was a missed opportunity for the Czechs, especially given the early ball possession and near-miss shots on goal.

Belgium leads Group E with 7 points. The Czech Republic has 4.

The qualifying games continue in the fall. Belarus is the fifth team in Group E. Only the Group winner is guaranteed entry into the 32-team final bracket in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, 2022. Playoffs between the groups will determine the other entrants.

The Czech national team has already qualified for the Euro Cup, which was postponed last year by the coronavirus and is scheduled to begin in June. The Czech Republic will play Scotland (June 14), Croatia (June 18) and England (June 22).

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

Lokomotiva Returns to Fourth Place

In a back-and-forth game, Anna Pušková scored in the 83rd minute to put Lokomotiva Brno-Horni Herspice on top and beat FC Slovan Liberec, 3-2.

Lokomotiva Brno H.H. (4-1-6, 13 points) had lost fourth place to Liberec (4-0-6, 12) last weekend, before switching places again, although Liberec has a game in hand. 

Lokomotiva will travel to FK Dukla Praha (2-2-7, 8) on Friday. The game starts at 1 p.m.

The final game of the regular season will be in Brno — it is scheduled to be played at the rebuilt facility in Horni Herspice — against FC Viktoria Plzeň on April 17 at noon.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Brno Teams Trail in Semifinal Series

BK Žabiny Brno lost the first game of its semifinal series at Sokol Hradec Králové, came back at home to win Game 2, then fell behind, one game to two, when they dropped Game 3 on Tuesday.

In Game 1, Hradec, which was second during the regular season, dominated the second half to pull away for an 89-60 victory. But in Game 2, the Žabiny gained momentum in the fourth quarter to build an 11-point cushion that ended with a final score of 85-76. Michaela Vacková led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

In Game 3, Hradec pulled out to a 22-5 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.

The series continues tomorrow in Brno at 2 p.m. and Game 5 is schedule for Saturday in Hradec at 4 p.m. 

Meanwhile, KP Brno drew league-leader ZVVZ USK Praha in the semifinals. Game 1 was a blowout: The Prague team doubled-up Brno, 88-44. Game 2 is tomorrow in Brno. Game 3 is schedule for Saturday in Prague at 5 p.m.

For updated information and schedules for both local teams, go to the league website at https://www.zbl.basketball/. The KP Brno team website is: http://www.kpbrnobasket.cz/. The Žabiny Brno team website is: https://www.bkzabiny.cz/. Use Google Chrome, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Translate to English”.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Basket Brno Coming Up Short in Group A1

After three postponements and the self-imposed quarantine of head coach Lubomír Růžička, Basket Brno returned to the court for two losses last week, dropping their record in Group A1 to 1-5.

Brno lost to USK Praha, 66-64, and ERA Basketball Nymburk, 82-101, last week. It was the second Group A1 losses to both teams.

Brno will have four games in the next weeks to finish Group A1 play, including three straight home games: BC Geosan Kolín on April 3 at 2 p.m.; BK Opava (the team that Brno beat to start Group A1 play) on April 8 at 6 p.m.; and BK JIP Pardubice on April 11 at 5 p.m.

The final game will be at BC Geosan Kolín on April 14 at 5:45 p.m.

For updated information and the schedule for Basket Brno games, go to the league website at https://www.nbl.cz/. The team website is: https://basketbrno.cz/. Use Google Chrome, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Translate to English”.

BASEBALL

Opening Day Postponed a Week

The extraliga baseball season was to have started this weekend, but Opening Day was postponed by a week out of an abundance of caution related to the coronavirus.

Brno has two teams that play on opposite sides of the city with about nine kilometers of the Svratka River between their two stadiums. Brno Draci are the longtime league champions. They are also the defending champions. Cardion Hroši Brno have been gaining reputation and momentum every season.

Draci Brno start at home against Blesk Jablonec on Friday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Cardion Hroši Brno will play that day at Olympia Blansko at 7 p.m.

Unlike last year, when restrictions against the coronavirus precluded foreign players, Czech teams will be reinforced with talent from abroad.

The 10-team first part of the extraliga season continues through the first week of June. Then the teams are rearranged according to the standings as part of the seeding for the postseason in the fall.

MEN’S HOCKEY

HC Kometa Season Ends in Quarterfinals

The HC Kometa regular season had spurts of victories and droughts of defeats, so it was no surprise that the basic trend continued into the postseason and through to the end.

The Brno men’s hockey team was swept in four games by Oceláři Třinec in the quarterfinal series, being outscored 20-4. It was not a complete surprise given that Brno had lost in the four regular-season meetings, too.

However, the Brno die-hard fans, who were unable to watch games in person all season, were given hope when Kometa rebounded from a 0-2 hole with three wins to advance past HC Vitkovice Ridera in the first postseason round.

In any case, the season is now over. It is five and a half months before the start of the 2021-22 season.

For the league website, go to https://www.hokej.cz/tipsport-extraliga. For updated information and the schedule, go to the team website at https://hc-kometa.cz/. Use Google Chrome, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Translate to English”.

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