Czechs beat Slovakia in Nations League; Tzigane Du Berlais wins Pardubice steeplechase with jockey Faltejsek achieving fifth victory; and Pastrňák bags a hat trick for Boston.
After a string of bad defeats this summer, including a 5:1 thrashing in Rostov from the World Cup quarter-finalists Russia, both the coach and players of the Czech international football team were vocal in criticising their performances. However, changes of coach and captain, with Jaroslav Šilhavý replacing Karel Jarolím on the bench and Bořek Dočkal receiving the armband from Marek Suchý, albeit provisionally due to the latter’s absence, seem to have reinvigorated the squad.
Playing away in Trnava, the Czechs beat the Slovak team 2:1 in a match that local papers often refer to as a derby. The slow first-half was replaced quickly after the players returned from the dressing room, with Czech Michael Krmenčík scoring in the 52nd minute. Although Slovak captain Marek Hamšík equalised 10 minutes later, the game was decided once the Czech team’s other forward, 22-year-old Patrik Schick, scored the winner. Both teams had more scoring opportunities, but failed to capitalize on them.
Speaking to Czech and Slovak press after the game, the new Czech coach, Šilhavý, was asked if he saw his appointment as key to the victory.
“Certainly it had a bit of an influence on the players, but it was not like the new manager came along and suddenly the whole picture changed. There were a few new players here and a new captain. We did a lot of work around the team, so I have to praise everyone, also the players on the bench and the whole staff.”
Racing the Great Pardubice steeplechase for the first time, seven-year-old brown gelding Tzigane Du Berlais won by three lengths. Riding him was veteran jockey, Jan Faltejsek, for whom this was already the fifth victory at the Pardubice circuit.
Speaking to Czech Television after the race, the winning horse’s trainer, Pavel Tůma, was holding back tears of emotion.
“We have had a catastrophic season this year. I was already thinking of quitting. We had horses that injured themselves so badly in training they died. But, this is amazing.”
The most lethal of the race’s hurdles, the Great Taxis, claimed another life this year in the form of nine-year-old gelding Vicody, which was one of the favourites of this year’s race.
The young Czech talent, and Boston Bruins right-wing, David Pastrňák, continued his excellent start into the season on Saturday, scoring a hat trick when the Bruins hosted the Detroit Red Wings in TD Garden on Saturday, winning 8:2.
The hat trick not only brought him up to second place in the NHL 2018-19 season goal scorers’ leader board, but his second goal of the game also marked his 100th NHL goal so far.