The Sport Matrix: Friday 13 December 2013


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The Independent Online

City should have known rules in Munich: Benitez

Manchester City should not have made the avoidable mathematical error which turned their midweek victory at Bayern Munich into a controversy, though it was down to manager Manuel Pellegrini’s staff to inform him of the permutations, Rafael Benitez writes today.

City beat the European champions, Bayern, 3-2 on Tuesday but did not send on substitute Sergio Agüero to pursue the goal they needed to top Group D because Pellegrini (pictured above) thought his team had to score twice.

Benitez, who was plunged into mathematical calculations of his own as his Napoli team defeated Arsenal on Wednesday but were still deprived of qualification, said that he delegates information of that kind to his backroom staff. “Always, I expect my staff to inform me about everything,” Benitez said.

He added in his column for today’s paper: “It is better to know everything as a manager, maybe, but Manuel needed one of his staff to tell him the mathematics in Munich.” MORE

Bairstow shines as opening batsman with brilliant ton

Jonny Bairstow scored a century to help the England Performance XI chase down a target of 347 against Western Australia Second XI in Perth.

Bairstow (left) and Gary Ballance were made available from the Ashes squad for the fixture.

The Yorkshireman, who was promoted to open the batting, responded with 123. He shared a stand of 144 with James Vince (69) to put England well on course before handy 40s from Ballance and Varun Chopra carried them to 348 for six to clinch the final match of the tour with two overs to spare.

Soldado bags Spurs hat-trick

Roberto Soldado’s hat-trick helped Tottenham beat Anzhi Makhachkala 4-1. Soldado struck two first-half goals and scored again after the break for Spurs, who were already assured of top spot in Group K. Lewis Holtby scored the fourth while Ewerton struck for Anzhi. MORE

Wigan crash out in Rosler’s first game

Wigan crashed out of the Europa League, losing 2-1 at NK Maribor in Uwe Rosler’s first game in charge of the Latics. A win would have sent Wigan through from the group stages and they led through Jordi Gomez, before Dejan Mezga and Zalijko Filipovic struck. MORE

Swans progress despite defeat

Swansea City reached the knockout phase last night, despite losing 1-0 away to Swiss side St Gallen. Marco Mathys struck the winner in the 80th minute to defeat Michael Laudrup’s team, who progressed courtesy of Kuban Krasnodar’s 1-1 draw in Valencia. MORE

Cross: England in right direction

Kate Cross hopes holding on to the Ashes will strengthen the case for England players to given central contracts. The pace bowler said: “[Australia are] full-time, and we’re not quite there yet, but it’s going in the right direction.” MORE

Blackburn give Campbell time off

Blackburn striker DJ Campbell has been given time off by the club after he was bailed this week following his arrest in a spot-fixing investigation. The club had confirmed he was one of six people detained by the National Crime Agency. MORE

Arteta queries match scheduling

Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta has questioned the Premier League for insisting they play their game at Manchester City at 12.45pm tomorrow, giving them just two clear days’ rest after their loss to Napoli. He said: “Recovery time is very tight.” MORE

Van Gerwen wants Taylor’s world title

Phil Taylor starts his quest for a 17th World Championship title tonight, but Michael van Gerwen is determined to take his crown this year. Van Gerwen said: “I know exactly what you need to do to beat Phil.” MORE

Chris Froome

This year’s Tour de France winner reveals to Kevin Garside how he made his move on the race’s most famous climb – and remembers his meeting with Nelson Mandela. MORE