The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 18 September 2013


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The Independent Online

Rampant Rooney helps United open campaign in style

Wayne Rooney continued to work his way back into the affections of the Manchester United support scoring a brace as Bayer Leverkusen were beaten 4-2 in the opening Champions League group stage match last night.

The England forward, who came close to leaving for Chelsea in the summer, scored in either half as David Moyes’ side overcame a slow start before easing to three points.

Simon Rolfes equalised Rooney’s opener before Robin van Persie’s acrobatic effort put United ahead again. Rooney’s second, his 200th for the club, followed by an Antonio Valencia finish extended their advantage before Omer Toprak pulled one back. MORE

Dominant City canter to easy victory in Plzen

Manchester City put their stuttering domestic form to one side as they comfortably swept aside Viktoria Plzen 3-0 in their opening Champions League group match in the Czech Republic.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who have exited the competition at the group stage in each of the last two seasons, struggled to find a breakthrough before the interval only for Edin Dzeko to put them ahead three minutes into the second half.

Further strikes from Yaya Touré and Sergio Aguero before the hour mark confirmed the victory. “In the first half we had chances to score,” Pellegrini said. “But in the second half we played really well.” MORE

Leaders Blackpool beaten at Millwall

Blackpool missed a chance to pull clear at the top of the table, going down 3-1 at Millwall as the pressure on manager Steve Lomas  was eased with their first victory of the season.

The London side move off the bottom with the three points after recovering from Thomas Ince’s early opener. Goals from Liam Trotter - a penalty - Nicky Bailey and Steve Morison then stunned the in-form Seasiders to give Paul Ince’s side a first defeat which takes them out of the automatic promotion places and below Leicester and Queens Park Rangers, who host Brighton tonight. MORE

Halsey hits back over book criticism

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has hit back at suggestions he was too close to leading figures in the game. “I am not a person who has ever been corrupt,” he said. “The rows I have had with managers show that.” MORE

Kevin Garside

Kimi Raikkonen’s appointment is not so much about what the returning Finn might bring to Ferrari but what he might bring out of Fernando Alonso, who, in the view of Il Presidente, needs to be more inclusive. MORE

Wiggins leads after taking trial verdict

Sir Bradley Wiggins moved top of the Tour of Britain standings after winning the stage three time trial. The 2012 Tour de France winner clocked 19min 54.2sec over a rain-lashed course that started and ended in Knowsley. MORE

Collingwood takes Durham nearer title

Durham moved closer to the County Championship title after bowling Nottinghamshire out for 78 on the first day of the penultimate match. The hosts ended their day’s reply on 207 for 8, with Paul Collingwood unbeaten on 53. MORE

World Cup plans put under threat

Foundations have been laid for a boardroom row that could disrupt the next World Cup. Chairmen and owners of Premiership clubs meet for discussions over a tournament that could bust the European game wide open. MORE