The Sport Matrix: Friday 7 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Zlatan is a ref’s nightmare in any language

Lyons manager Hubert Fournier has criticized the behaviour of Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, saying he has a nasty habit of insulting referees in English or Italian.

The Swede is returning to form after recovering from a nagging heel injury and could face Lyons tomorrow. Fournier believes referee Clément Turpin should brace himself for a difficult time.

“The person who is going to be most provoked is Mr Turpin,” Fournier said, “like all referees in this league who get insulted by this person. Apparently, referees are not bilingual or trilingual, so they don’t understand. In a way, it’s better to speak Italian or English to insult referees.”

Sanchez keeps positive outlook

The Aston Villa midfielder Carlos Sanchez remains confident his side can rediscover their form and scoring touch, despite facing the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea today having not scored for six matches. “I am a very optimistic person,” he said ahead of this afternoon’s match. “I am someone who always thinks you can make things better. You have to live life with a smile on your face.”

Armitstead takes Qatari honours

Victory in the final, fourth stage helped Lizzie Armitstead secure the women’s Tour of Qatar title yesterday. Needing just third place, the 26-year-old Briton won a sprint finish by 12 seconds. “It’s a nice surprise,” she said. “I’m in better shape than I expected.”

Gyan could return for Ghana in final

Ghana’s attempts to win a first African Cup of Nations title in 33 years could be boosted by the return of talisman Asamoah Gyan. The 29-year-old missed the semi-final win over hosts Equatorial Guinea with a hip injury. “The advice to the coach was to rest him for the semi-final, to give him the best chance to play in the decider,” a Ghana FA spokesman said ahead of the final against the Ivory Coast.

Westwood wows as Woods wanes

Lee Westwood maintained his recent form to go into the weekend with a share of the lead at the Malaysian Open, putting into stark contrast Tiger Woods’ troubles. The former world No 1 failed to make the cut for a second week in succession, walking off the course at the Farmers Insurance Open after just 11 holes. “My glutes are shutting off,” he said. “It goes into my lower back.”