The Sport Matrix: Thursday 14 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Arsenal come up short as Bayern make last eight

Arsenal exited the Champions League in battling fashion last night, a fine 2-0 victory at Bayern Munich not being enough to stop them going out on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw in the round-of-16.

Olivier Giroud crashed home Theo Walcott's cross from close range to give the visitors the perfect start after three minutes, but they were forced to wait until the closing minutes for their second against a disappointing Bayern.

Lukasz Fabianski, who replaced the dropped Wojciech Szczesny, impressed before Laurent Koscielny, above, headed a second with four minutes left to hand Bayern a first defeat in 24 matches. Arsenal were unable to find the third that would have taken them into the last eight.

"I believe we were very, very close tonight," their manager Arsène Wenger said. "Maybe a few times lucky but overall in the last 20 minutes we had room to score. The spirit and performance was there and overall we had a great go. The regret tonight is from the first game, we conceded a cheap goal in the last five minutes. You see how important that goal is tonight." MORE

England's Brazil friendly in doubt

England's friendly in Brazil in June is in doubt following delays in the completion of the rebuilt Maracana stadium. A self-imposed deadline of late April by the state of Rio de Janerio has crept backwards in recent months as the project has been plagued by problems. MORE

Millwall into FA Cup semi-final

Danny Shittu's first-half header took Millwall in to the FA Cup semi-finals as they overcame Championship colleagues Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Ewood Park. The centre-back found the net just before the interval to earn a last-four meeting with Wigan Athletic next month. MORE

Chelsea handed Easter replay date

Chelsea's FA Cup sixth-round replay against Manchester United will take place on Easter Monday as the club face a fixture pile-up in the final months of the season. Victory in the Europa League against Steaua Bucharest tonight will only add to their workload. MORE

Pardew puts faith in best of British

Alan Pardew has backed an English side to lift the Europa League this season, with Chelsea, Spurs and Newcastle all well placed to reach the last eight tonight. "If I was a betting man I think the winners could come from England," he said. "The three left can concentrate on it." MORE

Pressure is all on Wales, says Tuilagi

England's Manu Tuilagi believes all the pressure will be on hosts Wales in Saturday's title decider. "They're the ones who have to perform," he said. "We're really good at playing away. We haven't lost a Six Nations game on the road for two years." MORE

LTA chief Draper to quit in autumn

Roger Draper has announced he will leave his role as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association at the end of the summer. "It has been a huge honour to serve the sport I love," he said. "Now is the time for me to hand over the baton." MORE

Brailsford insists Team Sky are clean

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has dismissed suggestions his team are guilty of doping. "When we do things there are legitimate questions that should be asked," the 49-year-old said. "But I don't like innuendo. That's unfair." MORE

England must take thoughts off Ashes

There is a danger of having one eye on the Ashes later this year. If you are not on it 100 per cent in international cricket you will be up against it. If we're just thinking of the Ashes then we will be hurt. MORE

Sprinter coasts to Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre secured the Queen Mother Champion Chase in stunning style at the Cheltenham Festival yesterday, Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old beating Sizing Europe by 19 lengths. MORE

James Lawton

Sprinter Sacre promised the stars and then he delivered them, each one a little brighter than the last. Yesterday the dreams were not only saved, they were given quite extraordinary flight. MORE