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The Sport Matrix: Friday 14 March 2014

Spurs undone by Luisao double

Tottenham were beaten 3-1 by Benfica at White Hart Lane in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie. Rodrigo put Benfica ahead before Luisao doubled their lead. Christian Eriksen pulled a goal back with a superb free-kick but Luisao added a second late on. MORE

Gulf between City and Barça widens

Barcelona are on the verge of expanding the Nou Camp into Europe’s first stadium with over 100,000 capacity, showing the widening gulf between them and Manchester City, who aspire to be like the Catalans but were vanquished by them in the Champions League. MORE

Bobs Worth seeks second Gold Cup

In-form jockey Barry Geraghty seeks to win his second straight Cheltenham Gold Cup this afternoon riding the Nicky Henderson-trained Bobs Worth. Silviniaco Conti is a leading contender while Triolo D’Alene is also in the running for the £550,000 purse. MORE

Geraghty’s More Of That rules World

More of That beat favourite Annie Power to win the World Hurdle, while four-time winner Big Buck’s finished fifth and was retired immediately. Winning jockey Barry Geraghty said: “To have jumped and travelled the way he did on only his fifth run was remarkable.” MORE

Pardew seeks help from life coach

Alan Pardew will use a life coach to help him prevent a repeat of his head-butt on David Meyler as the Newcastle manager embarks on a seven-match ban as a “period of redemption”. Of the head-butt, he said: “I was disappointed in myself.” MORE

‘Happy’ RVP hopes to extend contract

Manchester United’s Robin van Persie has said he is ready to stay on at the club beyond the two years remaining on his contract. The striker said: “I’m very happy here at this club. I signed for four years and I’d be delighted to stay even longer.”

Australia kicks off ‘weird’ new season

The new season starts with Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and revamped rules using V6 engines. Says Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton: “This is definitely the weirdest and most difficult  pre-season to be able to judge where everyone is.” MORE

Jordan’s heroics inspire England

England beat West Indies by five runs in their last game before the World Twenty20. England made 165 for 6, Barbados-born Chris Jordan hitting four sixes in the last over. He also took 3 for 39 as West Indies fell short despite Lendl Simmons’ 66. MORE

Labour puts Marler out of Italy game

England’s Joe Marler has left the camp to be with his partner Daisy as they await the birth of their child. Mako Vunipola will replace him in the front row for the Italy match with Wasps’ Matt Mullan on the bench. MORE

Lewis Moody

England must stick to their guns against Italy and not go out chasing 50 points. If they do, silly passes will be thrown. It won’t work against an Italy side who will be confident with Sergio Parisse back. MORE

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