The Sport Matrix: Friday 28 November 2014


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Everton storm into knockout stages

Everton reached the knockout stages of the Europa League, progressing as Group H winners after a 2-0 victory away at Wolfsburg. Their qualification was actually confirmed during half-time after the group’s other game, Krasnodar against Lille, finished 1-1. Romelu Lukaku scored Everton’s opener just before the interval, and Kevin Mirallas ensured the win for Roberto Martinez’s side.

Twelvetrees starts amid Burgess talk

England head into their game against Australia tomorrow with their fifth centre pairing in six matches, with Billy Twelvetrees bumping Owen Farrell out of the team. But talk surrounded the prospect of Sam Burgess, the highly rated midfielder who recently switched from league to union. England coach Stuart Lancaster will watch him in his first game for Bath against Harlequins tonight.

Gatland: Wales are ahead of schedule

Wales coach Warren Gatland rejected notions he is feeling the pressure ahead of their Test with South Africa, aiming for a first win for six years against the southern hemisphere big three. He said: “Our whole focus is on making sure we get out of that pool at the World Cup. The time we have together will be about making sure we qualify and make the quarter-finals. I think we are ahead of schedule.”

Spanish club start funds for evicted woman

A Spanish first division football team says that it has opened a bank account to collect donations for an 85-year-old woman whose eviction last week sparked an outcry.

Rayo Vallecano president Raul Martin Presa said yesterday that the club will also donate money from ticket sales from its next home match to help Carmen Martinez (right) pay for a place to live.

Martinez was evicted from the apartment she owned and lived in for decades in Madrid’s working-class area of Vallecas. Her son had used it as collateral for a €40,000 (almost £32,000) loan and could not make payments after losing his job.

Press photographs of the eviction spurred intense Spanish media coverage of the plight of Martinez and prompted the club to help her. Rayo is also based in the Vallecas neighborhood.

Geraghty aims for landmark hat-trick

Jockey Barry Geraghty rides Triolo D’Alene in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury tomorrow, knowing a win would bring up an unprecedented hat-trick of victories for him in one of the season’s key races. He triumphed on the same horse last year and Bobs Worth in 2012.