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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 28 May 2013

Palace keen for Phillips to stay on after £120m goal

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway hopes to convince striker Kevin Phillips to stay and play Premier League football after the  39-year-old’s nerveless extra-time penalty won the south Londoners promotion to the top flight yesterday.

Phillips, a second-half substitute, scored the only goal of the play-off final against Watford after 105 minutes and said afterwards that it might have been his last kick in professional football. But Holloway, who brought Phillips on loan from Blackpool in January, said he hoped the veteran striker would keep playing.

“I’ll keep signing him until he’s nearly 50 or 60 if he keeps putting the ball in the net,” said Holloway afterwards. “He can keep on going as long as he wants. His game is unique; he finds space.”

Phillips added: “If that is my last game, what a way to sign off. I’m going to have a break now. Every bit of my body is aching. I’ll see what the future brings. I want to stay in the game, whether it be playing or coaching. I do not know if I will carry on.”

Phillips is now out of contract and turns 40 in July. MORE

England on brink but weather awaits

Graeme Swann’s four wickets took England to the brink of victory over New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley, though today’s weather may scupper hopes of a victory. The Kiwis, chasing 468 for an unlikely win, were 158-6 when bad light stopped play. MORE

Isco move close as City fend off Real

Manchester City look likely to beat off Real Madrid for Spanish international Isco. The Malaga midfielder vowed to follow manager Manuel Pellegrini to the Etihad, even though Real had intervened and met Isco’s father and agent last week. MORE

Everton fans angry with new badge

Over 14,000 Everton fans have signed an online petition criticising the Merseyside club’s “embarrassing” new badge. The club’s motto and a pair of wreaths have been removed from the crest for next season.

Robson beaten by ruthless Wozniacki

British number one Laura Robson yesterday went out of the French Open in the first round with a straight-sets defeat by Caroline Wozniacki. Robson lost 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 11 minutes, while there were wins for Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal on day two. MORE

Benitez confirmed as Napoli manager

Rafa Benitez was announced as Napoli’s new coach last night after concluding his interim spell at Chelsea. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis made the announcement on Twitter, calling Benitez “a man of great international experience. A leader.”

Unlucky O’Driscoll wants joy at last

Brian O’Driscoll is desperate to be a part of his first Lions tour victory after three losses on the bounce for the tourists and two unlucky tours for the Irishman. “It’s a long time to still be talking about ’97,” said the 34-year-old. “It’s time to kick on to the next level.” MORE

England and Wales for 2019 World Cup

The England and Wales Cricket Board has started searching for the 10 venues for the 2019 World Cup after it was announced yesterday they would be hosts. All nine Test grounds look set to host matches, with Bristol in the running for the final spot.

Opinion: James Lawton

Football sometimes displays an awareness of the extent of its own failings, something which its uppity cousin rugby union rarely displays too profoundly, as in the Dylan Hartley affair. MORE

Walsh and Nicholls end partnership

Top jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Paul Nicholls are to end their partnership after becoming one of jump racing’s most successful teams. Walsh cited too much travel to and from the UK as a reason for the split, and will now ride mainly for Irish trainer Willie Mullins. MORE

Call-up is a ‘dream’ for elated Best

Ulster hooker Rory Best has described how he had to pull up on a hard shoulder to avoid veering off the road after hearing of his call-up to the Lions squad in place of Dylan Hartley. “I’m way beyond the highest high,” he said. “It’s a dream.” MORE

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