The Sport Matrix: Monday 11 March 2013

 

Football: Benitez and Fergie at war again after Blues snatch draw

Rafael Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson renewed their animosity after yesterday's 2-2 draw in the FA Cup sixth round, with Benitez refusing to shake Ferguson's hand after the game.

Benitez, below, also said Chelsea's long trip to Steaua Bucharest on Thursday made a mockery of Ferguson's claim of fatigue in his players: “I thought you were joking. We were playing on Thursday in Romania.”

Rio Ferdinand could also face a retrospective FA ban after tripping Fernando Torres in an off-the-ball incident.

The winners of the replay will face Manchester City at Wembley, while Blackburn or Millwall play Wigan. MORE

Football: Second-tier pair play out dull affair

Millwall and Blackburn Rovers will replay their FA Cup sixth-round tie on Wednesday after playing out a dull goalless draw at The Den yesterday. Andy Keogh came closest for the hosts, seeing his header hit the post. MORE

Tennis: Nadal continues sparkling return

Rafael Nadal declared himself “pleased” after he came through his first hard-court match in nearly a year with a straight-sets win over American Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells. Nadal eased to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 victory.

Football: Late penalty keeps Liverpool in touch

Steven Gerrard's penalty late in the game gave Liverpool a 3-2 win against Tottenham, keeping their faint hopes of a top-four finish alive. Luis Suarez and Stuart Downing scored either side of a Jan Vertonghen double for Spurs, who remain third. MORE

Rugby Union: Sluggish England set up showdown

England will face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday knowing a win will give them their first Grand Slam in a decade after narrowly beating a spirited Italy 18-11 at Twickenham yesterday. Toby Flood's six penalties gave a his below-par side the vital win. MORE

Boxing: Veteran Hopkins breaks own record

Bernard Hopkins beat Tavoris Cloud to break his own record as the oldest world champion in boxing history. The 48-year-old American claimed the IBF light-heavyweight crown with a unanimous points win in New York.

Rugby Union: Fowles try sends Sale to cup final

Nathan Fowles' late try sent Sale to the LV= Cup final for the first time in 11 years with a 21-15 win over Saracens. Sale forgot their league struggles to book a meeting with Harlequins, to be played next Sunday.

Tennis: Nadal continues sparkling return

Rafael Nadal declared himself “pleased” after he came through his first hard-court match in nearly a year with a straight-sets win over American Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells. Nadal eased to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 victory.

Cricket: Long Finn innings gives tourists draw

Pace bowler Steven Finn's 56 runs off 203 balls as nightwatchman helped England bat through the final day of the first Test with few alarms to secure a draw against New Zealand in Dunedin yesterday. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

England's rugby team, that has been growing so impressively for a year, was scaled down against Italy yesterday, because they seemed to be operating in the shadow of great players like Sergio Parisse. MORE