Rosicky still not ready for Sparta after return from Arsenal
PRAGUE (AP) — Tomas Rosicky’s highly anticipated return to Sparta Prague and the Czech league after more than 15 years away has yet to fully materialize.
After the 35-year-old Rosicky signed a two-year contract with Sparta last month, he came on for only 18 minutes as substitute in a game against Mlada Boleslav on Sept. 10 and has not even been on the bench since. It was still more than the injury-prone midfielder played for Arsenal last season.
It was the first game for Rosicky since hurting his thigh in a 2-2 draw against Croatia in June at the European Championship in France.
On Sunday, Sparta badly needed his playmaking qualities in a 2-0 home loss to rival Slavia Prague in their 286th derby. Sparta had only one shot on target while Slavia missed a penalty in first-half injury time. Rosicky was watching the game from the stands.
It is not clear why Rosicky again didn’t play after he missed a Europa League game at Southampton and a league match against leading Zlin.
Sparta coach Zdenek Stastny said Rosicky was training with the team but that an unspecified former injury had again been an issue.
Angry Sparta fans entered the field after the game, forcing the players to run away before riot police intervened. Earlier, the match was interrupted in the second half for several minutes after Slavia fans used firecrackers and smoke bombs in the stands.
Zlin, a provincial team that seems to be inspired by last year’s victorious campaign of Leicester in the English Premier League, leads the table with 20 points from eight matches. Sparta is fourth with 15 points, followed by Slavia with 12.
Sparta hosts Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.