The Sport Matrix: Thursday 16 May 2013


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The Independent Online

Ivanovic header seals European glory for Chelsea

An injury-time header from defender Branislav Ivanovic, below, gave Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Benfica in the Europa League final last night, securing the London side a second European trophy in successive seasons.

Fernando Torres put the English side, still holders of the Champions League, ahead on the hour in Amsterdam, before Oscar Cardozo equalised from the penalty spot within 10 minutes.

“It’s been an amazing time for all of us involved,” Frank Lampard said afterwards. “It was tight tonight after the long season we’ve had. You make your own luck, and we stick together in this group. The club deserve it.”

The England midfielder also insisted he wants to remain at the club: “I really, really hope to be around next year. We haven’t sat down and signed anything, but things are looking good.”

The interim manager, Rafael Benitez, praised his side’s durability. “That was a great performance against a very good team,” the Spaniard said. “The players have worked so hard all season.” MORE

Cook: England wary of New Zealand

England captain Alastair Cook has insisted his side will not underestimate New Zealand as the first of a two-Test series gets under way at Lord’s today. “They showed in those three Test matches over there that they’re going to be a very tough side to beat,” Cook said. MORE

Murray doubtful for summer Slams

World No 2 Andy Murray faces a race to be fit for the French Open and Wimbledon following a recurrence of a long-standing back injury. The Scot withdrew from the Rome Masters yesterday during his second-round match against Spaniard Marcel Granollers. MORE

Hodgson eyes Cole for captaincy role

England’s manager, Roy Hodgson, wants to offer the captaincy to Ashley Cole for the forthcoming match against the Republic of Ireland, in recognition of him winning 100 caps. Regular captain Steven Gerrard is injured. Wayne Rooney is also in contention for the armband. MORE

Ferguson: Moyes must sacrifice

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned David Moyes he must be prepared to “sacrifice and persevere” if he is to succeed as Manchester United’s new manager. “One thing you have to do here is sacrifice and persevere,” he said. “It’s not always a golden path of riches.”

Dettori: I have only myself to blame

Disgraced jockey Frankie Dettori has spoken for the first time about his drugs suspension. “Things were going bad, I was depressed,” he said. “A moment of weakness and I fell for it and I’ve only myself to blame. I can’t blame anybody else.” MORE

UKA head coach Eriksson to depart

Peter Eriksson yesterday confirmed his decision to step down as UK Athletics head coach, leaving the governing body searching for a second new coach in eight months. The Swede cited family reasons as  behind his decision to go. MORE

Giro rocked by failed drugs test

The sport was tainted by another drugs scandal last night as French rider Sylvain Georges tested positive for Heptaminol during the Giro d’Italia. The AG2R rider said he had taken the performance-enhancing drug by mistake. MORE

Di Canio to keep players working

The Sunderland manager, Paolo Di Canio, has insisted on his players returning to training after Sunday’s final game of the season at Tottenham. “I can’t accept anyone relaxing,” the Italian said. “They don’t go on holiday straight away.” MORE

Liber Nauticus is Oaks front-runner

Liber Nauticus finds herself disputing favouritism for the Investec Oaks, with bookmakers taking an indulgent view of the heavy weather she made of her trial in York’s Musidora Stakes yesterday. MORE

Opinion: Kevin Garside

Whatever Rafael Benitez said at the break worked. Chelsea appeared a yard quicker, closing down space and striking with purpose. This is the mark of a good coach, to make a difference when it matters. MORE