The Sport Matrix: Friday 24 August 2012


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Webster's own goal hands Liverpool victory over Hearts

Andy Webster's second-half own goal handed Liverpool a crucial 1-0 win over Hearts in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie at Tynecastle Stadium last night. Brendan Rodgers rested most of his leading players but Pepe Reina,

Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger featured, and the visitors were given a stern test for much of the evening. They went close on the stroke of half-time. Raheem Sterling intercepted a crossfield pass, broke forward, and passed to Fabio Borini, his first-time effort striking the post. But the goal arrived in the 78th minute. Martin Kelly ran down the right and, although his cross evaded Borini, Webster could not prevent the ball spinning off his leg and into the net. The second leg is next Thursday at Anfield, with the winner going into the competition's group stage draw. MORE

Barça test Chelsea resolve over Luiz

Barcelona are prepared to test Chelsea's resolve to hang on to David Luiz, who is attracting interest from the Spanish club, with Luiz valued at about £30m. Meanwhile, Wigan confirmed they have accepted a fifth bid, of around £9m, from Chelsea for Victor Moses. MORE

AVB opens door for Dawson to leave

Andre Villas-Boas said competition for places was the only reason that Michael Dawson had been allowed to speak with QPR. He said: "What I told him [Dawson] is I can't promise any player he will be playing in two weeks' time, three weeks' time, four weeks' time." MORE

Taylor secures draw for Newcastle

Newcastle claimed a 1-1 draw away to Atromitos in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie. Denis Epstein's 24th-minute goal put the Greeks ahead before Ryan Taylor struck with a set-piece prior to the interval for Alan Pardew's weakened team. MORE

Fulham complain about Rodgers

Fulham have made an official complaint to the Premier League about Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, claiming in a press conference the club had enquired about buying Clint Dempsey. Fulham believe Rodgers broke Premier League rules by his public courting. MORE

Olympic stars Blake and Bolt win

Jamaica's Yohan Blake equalled the third-fastest time in 100m history, clocking 9.69sec, to win in the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne last night. London 2012 double-gold medallist Usain Bolt, meanwhile, won the 200m in 19.58 sec. MORE

Panesar boosts India tour claim

Monty Panesar enhanced his prospects of winning a place on England's winter tour of India, after he added figures of 6 for 77 to go with Wednesday's career-best 7 for 60 in Sussex's First Division fixture against Somerset. MORE

Cook: England must improve

Alastair Cook says England must improve despite starting today's one-day series against South Africa as the world's best ODI team. "We have a long way to go," said the captain. "It was a surprise when it came through that we were No 1." MORE

Rodriguez well ahead of Froome

Joaquim Rodriguez strengthened his hold on the overall race lead in the Vuelta a España with a last-minute surge for the line at Fuerte de Rapitan's uphill finish to win the sixth stage. He finished five seconds clear of Britain's Chris Froome. MORE

Federer semi-final in line for Murray

Olympic champion Andy Murray could face London 2012 finalist Roger Federer in the US Open semi-final after the draw was made yesterday. Novak Djokovic is the top seed in the other half of the draw. MORE

Opinion: Ian Bell

Everyone was disappointed at losing to South Africa but let's not forget that English cricket is still in a great place. We're ranked No 1 in one-day cricket and No 2 in Tests and Twenty20. MORE