The Sport Matrix: Monday 8 April 2013


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The Independent Online

Di Canio plays the blame game after opening with loss

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio criticised his new side's fitness after their 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stam ford Bridge in his first game in charge.

The Italian, animated on the touchline from start to finish, saw his side go ahead through a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal. But two goals in eight second-half minutes gave Chelsea the win, with Matt Kilgallon putting the ball in his own net before Branislav Ivanovic grabbed the winner.

But Di Canio, above, seemed more interested in questioning the physical state of the team he inherited than answering questions about the past week.

"I'm not going to say they're not fit," Di Canio said, before adding: "It's not the fittest team in the world. But we are going to work and give them more energy."

Di Canio was also asked afterwards about the description of him as "unlikeable" by David James, a former team-mate at West Ham, in his Sunday newspaper column.

"I respect everyone's opinion. But it's not an issue for me, to be honest," he said. "If I have to answer every comment, we'll be here all day." MORE

Spurs earn point but lose ground

A late Gylfi Sigurdsson strike rescued a point for Tottenham against Everton in the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane. Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring after just 33 seconds, before Phil Jagielka and a fine second-half solo goal from Kevin Mirallas put Everton in front. MORE

Unexpected form pleases Rutherford

Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford has high hopes for the year after winning the Melbourne World Challenge on Saturday. "I didn't expect to be able to jump that well so early," he said. MORE

Interview: Sandy Lyle

Scotland's two-time major winner Sandy Lyle talks about his hopes for this week's Masters in Augusta, after his spectacular fall from grace since winning the tournament 25 years ago. MORE

Wilkinson sets up Twickenham semi

Jonny Wilkinson will make a return to Twickenham at the end of this month after kicking Toulon into a Heineken Cup semi-final against Saracens. The French side hit back from a 9-0 deficit to see off a spirited Leicester yesterday. MORE

Quins crash out as Munster march on

Munster progressed to their 10th Heineken Cup semi-final by overcoming Harlequins 18-12 at the Twickenham Stoop. Quins led 9-6 at the break but the Irish side, who will play Clermont in the last four, scored four quick penalties to take control. MORE

Britain fight back for historic victory

Great Britain's James Ward and Dan Evans caused huge upsets to help Great Britain clinch a 3-2 victory over Russia in the Davis Cup in Coventry - the first time they had fought back from 2-0 down to win since 1930. They now go through to the World Group play-offs. MORE

Newcastle jubilant but Liverpool stall

Papiss Cissé scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Newcastle deservedly beat Fulham 1-0 at St James' Park to move five points clear of the relegation zone. Elsewhere, Liverpool's European ambitions took a hit after they were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham at Anfield. MORE

Maloney stunner earns Wigan point

Shaun Maloney's spectacular injury-time free-kick gained Wigan a point at ten-man QPR, leaving Harry Redknapp's men seven points from safety. Loïc Rémy had given QPR the lead at Loftus Road after Bobby Zamora was shown a straight red card for dangerous play. MORE

Wigan helped by Poore showing

Wigan Warriors returned to the top of Super League with a 44-24 victory over Wakefield at the DW Stadium. Wakefield's Australian prop Justin Poore saw red after 11 minutes for punching Liam Farrell, and the visitors never recovered. MORE