The Sport Matrix: Monday 15 April 2013


Nasri and Aguero earn City a return to Wembley

Goals either side of half-time from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero took Manchester City through to a second FA Cup final in three seasons as they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley yesterday. Nasri opened the scoring 10 minutes before the interval, taking advantage of a fortunate ricochet to finish from close range, before Aguero headed a second just after the restart. A fine angled shot from Demba Ba, above, halved the deficit with 25 minutes remaining to spark a late Chelsea rally, but Roberto Mancini’s side defended resolutely to book another Wembley date next month, when they will face Wigan Athletic on 11 May. MORE

Di Canio leads Cats to derby delight

Paolo Di Canio picked up his first victory as Sunderland manager yesterday, inspiring the Black Cats to a surprise 3-0 win at North-east rivals Newcastle. Stéphane Sessègnon opened the scoring in the first half, before further goals from Adam Johnson and David Vaughan. MORE

Alonso back in title race after China win

Fernando Alonso picked up the second Chinese Grand Prix victory of his career to move back into contention for the World Championship. The Ferrari driver finished ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, while Lewis Hamilton came in third. MORE

Marengo takes battle honours

Battle of Marengo picked up the standard for Aidan O’Brien’s stable, winning the Ballysax Stakes in some style. The colt is now as short as 8-1 for the Derby in June after his display at Leopardstown. page 45

United close in on 20th championship

Goals from Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie gave Manchester United a comfortable 2-0 victory at Stoke to move the Old Trafford side within seven points of a 20th top-flight title. Stoke remain precariously positioned three points above the relegation zone. MORE

Welsh relegated from Premiership

Two tries apiece from Tom May and Luther Burrell helped Northampton to a 31-14 win at London Welsh, relegating the Exiles from the top flight. The hosts had an early lead but were unable to hold on as Saints took a bonus-point win.

Commons touch puts Celtic through

Celtic reached the Scottish Cup final after edging a seven-goal thriller against Dundee United at Hampden Park. Kris Commons scored twice as the Bhoys won 4-3 after extra time. They will face Hibs, who beat Falkirk by the same score on Saturday, in next month’s final.

Farrell treble keeps Wigan clear at top

Liam Farrell’s first-half hat-trick helped leaders Wigan to a 36-6 win at Bradford yesterday. A dominant showing from the Warriors had them 30-0 in front at the interval. Huddersfield remain a point behind after beating Hull KR 50-30. MORE

Opinion: Sam Wallace

The club may have tried their best but even before Saturday the notion that the Millwall support had been reformed was not borne out. Home Office arrest figures for last season make grim reading.

Jackett: Tough to change reputation

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett has admitted the club may struggle ever to rid themselves of the violent fringe that marred Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Wigan at Wembley. “Time will tell whether we’ll ever do it,” he said. “It’s a tough call, isn’t it?”

Murray ups stakes at Monte Carlo

Andy Murray is taking one step at a time as he prepares for his first clay-court tournament of the year in Monte Carlo. The Scot said: “I’m not preparing this week to try to get to No 1, I’m preparing to try to win Monte Carlo.” MORE