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Sigma stun Sparta in Czech Cup showpiece

Five days after losing to AC Sparta Praha in the league, SK Sigma Olomouc defeated the capital club 1-0 in the Czech Cup final, winning their first major honour in the process.

Sigma Olomouc celebrate after winning the Czech Cup final
Sigma Olomouc celebrate after winning the Czech Cup final ©Jan Tauber

SK Sigma Olomouc belied expectation by winning the Czech Cup for the first time, defeating AC Sparta Praha 1-0 in the final in Plzen.

Michal Vepřek's maiden goal for the club, two minutes into the second half, earned Sigma the first major honour in their 93-year history. The triumph came only five days after Petr Uličný's team lost to Sparta by the same scoreline in the Czech First League, where 30 points and 11 places separate the sides.

Only the post saved Sparta from falling behind after 13 minutes, Jan Schulmeister running on to Zdeněk Klesnil's through ball and hitting the right-hand upright with a low shot. Schulmeister's rebound was blocked by Manuel Pamić.

Sparta's opening shot across the bows came from the boot of midfielder Marek Matějovský, who sent a free-kick narrowly off target, before the same player teed up Ladislav Krejčí, whose shot hit the side netting. Back came Sigma, though, and after Jan Navrátil worked Sparta goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík, Vepřek fashioned space for himself on the left and delivered a right-footed cross-shot which sailed into the net.

Jan Navrátil and Schulmeister squandered a chance apiece to make the result safe, the latter with just Vaclík to beat, but, save for keeper Zdeněk Zlámal denying Sparta's Josef Hušbauer, Sigma safely saw out the closing stages.

Reflecting on Sigma's historic triumph, Uličný said: "There is great potential in our young players and I hope Sigma can repeat such successes in the near future."

The 62-year-old also announced that he is going to retire at the end of the season. Sigma are six points clear of the relegation zone with three matches remaining. "I have definitely decided," he said. "I've had a long coaching career and I want to enjoy watching football during my retirement – I deserve a rest."