The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 5 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Mourinho: The world will stop to watch this one...

Jose Mourinho said that the "world would stop" to watch Manchester United's Champions League last 16 second-leg game against his Real Madrid side tonight, and proclaimed that his team would have to "attack and be bold" with the advantage in their opponents' favour. The first leg ended 1-1.

The 50-year-old, above, said that Madrid were in such a state of readiness that they could have played the match last night, having won two consecutive games in cup and league against Barcelona.

Earlier, Sir Alex Ferguson said that United would not be preoccupied with the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo.

There is a range of attacking options at Ferguson's disposal, to the extent that there are even doubts about Wayne Rooney's place in the side. The 27-year-old started against Norwich City on Saturday and scored. Although the tendency is for Ferguson to make his mind up on selections well in advance of big games, the United manager claimed yesterday that he would make a final decision on his team this morning. MORE

Tevez strike keeps City hanging on

Carlos Tevez's goal in first-half injury time gave Manchester City a hard-fought 1-0 win at struggling Aston Villa. City are still 12 points behind leaders Manchester United with 30 points left to play for, while Villa remain in the relegation zone on goal difference. MORE

Farrell not fit while Croft is back in mix

England fly-half Owen Farrell will not be fit to play against Italy on Saturday in the Six Nations because of injury, but flanker Tom Croft has been added to the squad. Croft returns from a serious neck injury but has played less than five hours of senior rugby this season.

Rapid Finn feels the need for speed

England fast bowler Steve Finn is eager to get going in the first Test against New Zealand and his delivery could break the 100mph barrier. "We'll see what the speed guns says," the 23-year-old said, ahead of the start the three-Test series, which begins in Dunedin tonight. MORE

Grabarz will get help after decline

Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz has been promised help after finishing sixth in the European Indoor Championships at the weekend. UK Athletics' Peter Eriksson said: "We have good sports psychology people, they are going to get it right." MORE

Burns will have to wait for his night

WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns' unification fight against IBF holder Miguel Vazquez has been postponed until 20 April. They were due to meet on 16 March but Vazquez pulled out with illness. Burns said he was "gutted".

Mertesacker wants Arsenal to wake up

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker has admitted the players cannot afford to switch off at any time if they are to finish the season on a high note, but welcomes the 10-day gap until their next match, at Bayern Munich. "We need this breather now," he said.

McLaren opt for Honda engines

McLaren are to use Honda engines as the Japanese company returns to Formula One for the first time since 2008. Honda pulled out of the championship in 2008 after poor results. McLaren are expected to first race with their engines in 2015.

Bendtner banned by Denmark FA

Striker Nicklas Bendtner has been suspended for six months from the Denmark team after he was arrested for drink-driving. The Juventus player, on loan from Arsenal, was caught driving the wrong way down a street in Copenhagen. MORE

Europeans back 'belly putter' ban

The European Tour has confirmed its support for a proposed ban on anchored putters from 2016. The PGA Tour and PGA of America are both against banning what is known as the "belly putter".

Opinion: James Lawton

If anyone is entitled to talk up Manchester United's chances against Real Madrid tonight it is surely Peter Schmeichel. When he lifted the trophy in 1999, he symbolised the meaning of his team. MORE