The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 27 February 2013


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Swans share cup spoils with fans in bus-top parade

Thousands of supporters lined the streets of Swansea yesterday to welcome back Michael Laudrup's side after their 5-0 victory over Bradford City in Sunday's Capital One Cup final at Wembley.

Players paraded the trophy – the first major silverware in the Welsh club's history – during an open-top bus parade of the city that started at the Dragon Hotel and finished at the Brangwyn Hall.

They were joined by Only Women Aloud and the Phoenix Choir, who performed their song "Liberty Forever", which was written to mark the club's centenary year.

Chairman Huw Jenkins hopes the cup success, and European football next season, can persuade Laudrup, above, to remain in Wales. "I hope Michael's here for a few years yet," Jenkins said.

"He's cemented his roots in Swansea. His family are here. I hope he's still with us and we're firmly focused on working together and having a good season next year. Teams involved in the Champions League can be a big pull; we've just got to put up with that and keep our fingers crossed."

Everton see off Oldham in FA Cup

A strong opening from Everton helped them beat Oldham 3-1 in last night's FA Cup fifth-round replay to secure a quarter-final at home against Wigan next month. Leon Osman added to first-half strikes from Kevin Mirallas and Leighton Baines, before Matt Smith's consolation. MORE

Exiles face threat of points penalty

London Welsh face a points deduction after being charged by the RFU for fielding an ineligible player in Premiership matches. Tyson Keats is said to have played nine games without proper registration. A hearing is to be held next Tuesday.MORE

Benitez put on the back foot after rift

Rafael Benitez insists he retains the support of the Chelsea squad, despite a frank exchange of views in the aftermath of Sunday's loss at Manchester City. "It was a normal meeting, as after every game," the Spaniard said. "It was a very brief exchange of ideas. That is it." MORE

Real beat Barça to reach Copa final

Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 victory in Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg last night as Jose Mourinho's side progressed to the final 4-2 on aggregate. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to set up a final meeting with either Seville or Atletico Madrid. MORE

Leicester win lifts play-off hopes

A comprehensive 3-0 victory over Blackburn helped Leicester strengthen their grip on the Championship play-off positions as they won for the first time in five matches. Elsewhere, Bolton overcame Peterborough 1-0 at the Reebok; Huddersfield won by the same score at Burnley. MORE

McIlroy favours belly putter ban

Rory McIlroy has supported a ban on the belly putter that is dividing the sport. "We need to be on one side or the other," the world No 1 said before the Honda Classic. "It's up to the governing bodies to decide." MORE

Compton opens ahead of Root

England last night kept faith with Nick Compton as their opening batsman in the final warm-up before the Test series with New Zealand. Joe Root was picked at number six for the match with a New Zealand XI in Queenstown. MORE

Rusty Rocket set to defend world title

Former world No 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan has accepted a wild card invitation to defend his world title at the Crucible in Sheffield in April. The four-time world champion has played only one competitive match in the past year. MORE

Slam sweep the target for Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has admitted completing his Grand Slam set by winning the French Open is his main aim this year. "I'm not hiding that priority No 1 is probably Roland Garros," the Serb said. "It's the only Grand Slam I haven't won." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The most haunting question for Spurs is whether they can afford to sell Gareth Bale. For the buoyancy of Andre Villas-Boas's side, Bale's loss would not be so much an amputation as an evisceration. MORE