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The Sport Matrix: Friday 3 May 2013

Chelsea stroll past Basel to set up final date with Benfica

Chelsea confirmed their place in the Europa League final after defeating Basel 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last night, winning 5-2 on aggregate.

Mohamed Salah had given the Swiss visitors the lead on the night on the stroke of half-time but Chelsea responded with three goals in nine second-half minutes, including a stunning effort from David Luiz, pictured.

Fernando Torres had struck in the 50th minute before Victor Moses scored for Rafael Benitez’s side two minutes later.

Luiz added Chelsea’s third, a well-taken long-range strike, in the 59th minute. Chelsea will play Benfica in the final in Amsterdam on 15 May. MORE

AVB heaps praise on Mourinho

Andre Villas-Boas believes Jose Mourinho will have a spectacular impact on the Premier League if he returns this summer. The Spurs manager said: “He has a wonderful history in this league and it will be spectacular to have him back.” MORE

Pardew defends Newcastle players

Alan Pardew defended his Newcastle players yesterday amid suggestions his relegation- threatened squad is too unbalanced because there are so many French players. Pardew said: “It’s insulting if you think because a player is from a foreign country they are not bothered.” MORE

Di Canio: players ‘poisoned’ by wins

Paolo Di Canio said “poison” had seeped into his players’ veins before their 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa on Monday night. Sunderland had beaten Newcastle and Everton, and Di Canio said: “We felt safe and relaxed, it was poison. It’s not acceptable.” MORE

United chief happy with current squad

The executive vice-chairman of Manchester United, Ed Woodward, is not expecting Sir Alex Ferguson to rebuild his squad this summer. He said: “We are very comfortable with the make-up of team and squad.”

Orb favourite for Kentucky Derby

Orb will line up as the unbeaten favourite for the Kentucky Derby tomorrow representing the old school in the first US Classic. “I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time about a race,” trainer Claude McGaughey III said. MORE

Cavendish aims to be in the pink

Mark Cavendish will start as  favourite for today’s opening sprint stage of the Giro d’Italia. “It would be a dream to take the pink jersey in the first stage,” Cavendish said yesterday. “It’s a special race.” MORE

Swann shines but Durham prevail

Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard hit half-centuries as Durham knocked off 184 to beat Nottinghamshire by six wickets and take the spotlight off England spinner Graeme Swann’s successful  return from injury. MORE

Hendry laments lack of talent

Stephen Hendry believes there is a shortage of talent in snooker beyond Ronnie O’Sullivan. “It’s up to the other players to try and get to his level,” said Hendry. “No one has taken up the mantle to be the governor.” MORE

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