Sparta Prague secured their place in the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday, and one of the club’s former players who was quick to hail their progress was Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The 32-year-old Czech Republic international played for the Prague-based outfit during the 2001-02 campaign, having joined them in January 2001.
That may be 12 years ago, but still Cech, who moved to Chelsea from Rennes in the summer of 2004 and is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, seems to cherish his former club reaching the group stage of the Europa League courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate victory over PEC Zwolle.
Dutch club Zwolle headed into the second leg of their playoff tie as the underdogs, having drawn the first leg 1-1 at their IJsseldelta Stadion last week.
As expected, Sparta made the breakthrough at the Generali Arena in the ninth minute thanks to Ladislav Krejci’s strike and doubled their advantage just before half time through Borek Dockal.
Jakub Brabec made it 3-0 to Sparta just past the the hour mark, while Stef Nijland’s goal from the penalty spot nine minutes from full time proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Ron Jans’s visiting Eredivisie outfit.
Is Petr Cech a better goalkeeper than Thibaut Courtois?