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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 22 January 2014

Negredo and  Aguero complete City demolition job

Manchester City will contest their fourth League Cup final at Wembley in early March after Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero led the club to a 9-0 aggregate semi-final win over West Ham last night.

Negredo and  Aguero complete City demolition job Negredo opened the scoring with a header after three minutes before manager Manuel Pellegrini (above) saw his side increase their overall advantage to eight with a run and finish from Aguero on 24 minutes. Negredo added a third on the hour to secure a 3-0 win on the night.

“It was easy to think the game was finished from the 6-0 in the first leg,” Pellegrini said. “But it was important to reach the final winning all the games. Wembley is always important.”

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce lamented his side’s defending. “It was bog-standard, which was disappointing,” he said. “You cannot do mistakes at this level to the amount we did.” MORE

Chelsea ready to sell Mata – for £40m

Juan Mata is on the verge of leaving Stamford Bridge, with the club willing to sell the Spanish midfielder for around £40m. Any deal, with Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all interested, just requires the approval of coach Jose Mourinho. MORE

United making contingency plans

Manchester United are making plans for how they will seek to persuade Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to remain at the club if they fail to achieve Champions League qualification. The champions currently sit in seventh place, six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. MORE

Lukaku shocked  at Anelka furore

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku has been left bemused after comments he made relating to Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” gesture were removed from the club’s website. The Belgian claimed Anelka should not be banned for the gesture, saying: “We don’t have to make a big deal about it”. MORE

Cook out as England seek to save face

Captain Alastair Cook is among the players who will be rested by England for the fourth One-Day International with Australia in Perth on Friday. Defeat there will mean England equal their worst international run of 10 straight defeats, which they also suffered in 1993 and 2001. MORE

Cavendish relishing Tour homecoming

Mark Cavendish admits his whole season centres on the start of the Tour de France in his mum’s home town of Harrogate. “I don’t think people realise how massive it’s going to be,” he said. “This year’s [Grand Depart] is going to be spectacular.” MORE

Burns: Move could have gone better

Freddie Burns has admitted he may have mishandled his departure from Gloucester. “I had a decision to make about staying or leaving,” he said. “I do wish I’d handled it slightly differently. But it’s happened now. I’ll be a better person because of it.” MORE

Four-time champ stunned by Stan

Reigning champion Novak Djokovic was sent crashing out of the Australian Open at the quarter-final stage by Stanislas Wawrinka yesterday. The Serb, also winner in 2008, 2011 and 2012, went down 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in Melbourne. MORE

Bouchard blasts into maiden semi

Eugenie Bouchard reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time after shocking Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 at the Australian Open yesterday. “It’s not a huge surprise to me,” the Canadian, 19, insisted. “I always believe in my skills.” MORE

Dutch fingered for rude gesture

Dutch speed skater Sjinkie Knegt has been stripped of European Championships silver after making a gesture at the Russian winners in the 5,000m relay final. The Netherlands were disqualified after Knegt stuck his fingers up at Viktor Ahn.

Kevin Garside

Manchester United have a creative deficit in the final third, the need of an incisive presence to fashion openings. Juan Mata is good enough to have been Chelsea’s player of the year two seasons running. MORE

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