The Sport Matrix: Friday 8 March 2013


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Benitez frustrated as Chelsea lose to Steaua Bucharest

Raul Rusescu scored a first-half penalty to give Steaua Bucharest a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Arena Nationala last night, giving the Romanian side a narrow advantage in their Europa League last-16 tie.

Ryan Bertrand was penalised for pulling back Rusescu while competing for a cross in the area in the 34th minute, and the forward duly stepped up to convert the spot-kick.

Chelsea had few chances in an insipid performance, but Juan Mata and Marko Marin went close late on.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez expressed his disappointment with the penalty decision. "I think it was very soft. To give a penalty in this situation, and especially when you have so many referees in their positions, it is soft," said Benitez, above.

The Spaniard added: "You cannot change the situation but it is very soft. If you give the penalty, why not the [red] card? Strange."

Petr Cech believed Chelsea deserved more for their efforts. "I hardly made a save all game," reflected Cech. "We're just disappointed we didn't score." MORE

Interview: Rory Delap

Barnsley's veteran faces Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final tomorrow, and the long-throw specialist tells Simon Hart he's hoping for one final chance at the big time.

Bale scores again as Spurs beat Inter

Tottenham Hotspur earned a comfortable 3-0 victory over Inter Milan at White Hart Lane last night. Gareth Bale scored again, heading home in the sixth minute, but a first-half booking means the in-form Welshman misses the second leg in Italy. MORE

Newcastle battle to draw in Moscow

Newcastle earned a hard-fought goalless draw against Anzhi Makhachkala. Samuel Eto'o went close for Anzhi while Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa missed a chance to celebrate his 26th birthday in style, failing to beat goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov with a chipped effort. MORE

Steele seeking that 'invincible' feeling

Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele is hoping to draw inspiration from the club's famous run to the 2008 FA Cup semi-finals – which featured a fifth-round win at Liverpool – when his side face Manchester City tomorrow. Steele said he "just felt invincible" at Anfield that day.

Ferdinand will not be charged by Uefa

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will not face disciplinary action from Uefa for sarcastically applauding the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir after the club's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. MORE

Button up to speed – but not McLaren

Jenson Button is up to speed, posting a time of 1hr 19min for a half-marathon in Cannes last month, but McLaren's policy of developing a new car for the new season means they may endure teething problems at the Australian Grand Prix.

Murray's return delights Johnson

Interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson is delighted Euan Murray, who missed last month's victory over Ireland, will return to face Wales at Murrayfield tomorrow. Johnson said: "He's a quality rugby player, a world class tighthead."

London Welsh are docked five points

London Welsh face the fight of their lives to remain in the Premiership after they were deducted five points and fined £15,000 for fielding an ineligible player, Tyson Keats. The Exiles are now two points adrift of Sale at the foot of the table. MORE

Hibbard: Johnson criticism made me

Richard Hibbard, set to start for Wales against Scotland tomorrow, says the criticism opposition coach Scott Johnson dished out during their time together at Ospreys was vital in his development. Hibbard said he "gave me a kick up the backside".

Rutherford strikes century on debut

New Zealand opened up a first-innings lead in the first Test as Hamish Rutherford hit a century on debut last night. England dismissed Peter Fulton for 55, caught behind by Matt Prior off James Anderson.