AC Sparta Praha's title challenge took another knock on Friday as they lost 1-0 at FC Baník Ostrava.
AC Sparta Praha's title challenge took another knock as they lost 1-0 at FC Baník Ostrava, Baník captain and Sparta old boy Rene Bolf scoring the only goal shortly after the hour-mark.
Revenge for Baník
The defending champions remain three points adrift of FC Slovan Liberec who play SK Slavia Praha tomorrow, with FK Viktoria Zizkov another point further back. The victory, Baník's first against Sparta in three years, lifts them up to fifth place in the table.
One home defeat this season
Although Baník had lost only once at home this season, Sparta had won the two previous meetings between the two sides at the Bazaly stadium. Moreover their league meeting of the season ended with a 4-0 win for Sparta at the Letná stadium before the winter break.
However, it was a different story today. Baník goalkeeper Jan Laštuvka was stretchered off after half an hour with a damaged knee but his replacement Martin Raška, in his first match this season, had little to do. Sparta, without injured captain Jirí Novotny, looked short of ideas in attack and at the other end Baník asked few questions of Petr Cech on his 50th league appearance. For more than an hour the two sides failed to create a single chance.
Bolf headed the winner in the 63rd minute from a Martin Lukes free-kick. Libor Sionko, who started his career at the Bazaly stadium, missed a chance to level five minutes from time and, marshalled by Bolf, Baník managed hold on for the win.