The Sport Matrix: Thursday 14 February 2013


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The Independent Online

De Gea helps United take advantage home

A resolute defensive display, led by some fine goalkeeping from David de Gea, helped Manchester United secure a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie last night.

Danny Welbeck headed the English side ahead after 20 minutes with just his second goal in 28 matches. The England forward leapt to guide Wayne Rooney's corner into the net past some questionable defending from the home side.

However, the lead only lasted 10 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo, above, rose superbly above Patrice Evra to nod Angel di Maria's cross past De Gea on the half-hour. Real enjoyed the better of the second half but were unable to find a winning goal.

Real manager Jose Mourinho felt the tie was wide open ahead of next month's second leg. "We were the team that chased the game," the Portuguese said. "The result is open and if you ask me for a percentage I don't change. It's still 50/50. We can score more than one goal at Old Trafford." MORE

In the night's other tie, Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Shakhtar Donetsk. MORE

Cech: Europa tie important to us

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has insisted the club are taking the Europa League seriously as they attempt to complete a full set of European trophies. "[Becoming the first English team to do so] is a great motivation," he said ahead of tonight's trip to former club Sparta Prague. MORE

AVB: Lyons will test Spurs' ambition

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes tonight's Europa League visit of Lyons is a good barometer of whether his side are ready for the Champions League. "It will be a good test," he said. "Lyons represent a club with tremendous experience in recent years." MORE

Rodgers: Racism will unite players

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted any racist abuse during tonight's Europa League tie at Zenit St Petersburg will only serve to unite his side. "It is an issue these players have experienced before," he said. "It is something which will very much unite [them]." MORE

Lennon will not face Uefa charge

Celtic manager Neil Lennon will not face action from Uefa after calling referee Alberto Mallenco "pro Juventus" following Tuesday's Champions League tie. Lennon made the comments after repeated instances of shirt-pulling and grappling from the Italian side's defence. MORE

Aussie collapse puts England out

An awful batting collapse by Australia cost them victory against West Indies in the World Cup Super Sixes – but also knocked defending champions England out of the competition. Australia now face West Indies again in Sunday's final. MORE

McGuigan praises Frampton impact

Barry McGuigan has tipped fellow countryman Carl Frampton to follow in his footsteps in unifying a divided Northern Ireland. "When I first clapped eyes on him, I saw the most explosive little guy I had ever seen," McGuigan said of the 25-year-old. MORE

London ready to be united once again

July's Diamond League meet at the Olympic Stadium is to become the London Anniversary Games, a three-day event featuring Olympians and Paralympians. "It's really exciting," Hannah Cockroft, 100m and 200m T34 gold medallist, said. MORE

Boswell: Lance is 'double-faced'

Ian Boswell admits he found it hard to accept the news of Lance Armstrong's drugs past. "It's like a double-faced figure," the American said. "You see this guy on the media and it's terrible. How can you lie to all these people? But then you meet him and…" MORE

Peddlers Cross win creates division

Victory over Cue To Cue at Musselburgh yesterday at least helped Peddlers Cross get his career back on track, though his jockey and the bookies were divided over his Festival prospects. MORE

Gatland's grenade

Anti-English comments made this week by the British & Irish Lions head coach may leave him open to accusations of bias ahead of this summer's tour of Australia. Chris Hewett investigates. MORE