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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 27 March 2013

Gerrard: England 'stopped playing' to stutter to draw

England remain second in Group H after letting a lead slip last night as they drew 1-1 in Montenegro.Wayne Rooney put the visitors in front on six minutes, heading in Steven Gerrard's corner after a strong beginning from Roy Hodgson's side, which included Rooney hitting the post.

The hosts emerged stronger after the break, and were rewarded for their efforts when Dejan Damjanovic found the net from close range after a goalmouth scramble with 13 minutes left.

England captain Gerrard, above, admitted his side struggled to maintain their strong start. "We stopped playing after the break for 20 or 30 minutes and away from home you can't do that," he said. "We stopped passing and they got a deserved equaliser. When you are only 1-0 up you are vulnerable. They took control but we are still confident we can finish top." MORE

Alaba's late strike denies Ireland win

David Alaba scored an late equaliser for Austria against the Republic of Ireland to snatch a 2-2 draw. The hosts led through two Jon Walters goals after Martin Harnik's opener. In Group F, Northern Ireland remain winless after going down to two late goals at home to Israel. MORE

Tizzard not scared of taking on Sacre

Colin Tizzard, trainer of Cue Card, yesterday committed his stable star to the John Smith's Melling Chase on Friday week, setting up an intriguing encounter with another Festival champion, Sprinter Sacre. MORE

Murray coasts into quarter-finals

Andy Murray eased into the final eight of the Miami Masters last night, beating Italian Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-4 for his third consecutive straight-sets win. The 2012 finalist will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals. MORE

McIlroy eyes quick return to top spot

Attention turns back to Rory McIlroy this week as he attempts to reclaim the world No 1 spot from Tiger Woods. McIlroy will go back to the top if he wins the Shell Houston Open, with Woods not playing again until 11 April at the Masters.

Prior admits 'luck' in England rescue

Matt Prior admitted fortune played a part in his series-saving century against New Zealand. "I had a fair bit of luck, I have to admit," the England player said. "But you need luck. All that kind of stuff needs to happen for it to go your way." MORE

Adkins handed Royal appointment

Nigel Adkins was yesterday appointed the new manager of Premier League strugglers Reading, succeeding Brian McDermott, dismissed earlier this month. The 48-year-old, who impressed at Southampton, begins his Royals reign at Arsenal on Saturday. MORE

Referee Walsh left off Test schedule

Steve Walsh, the referee who frustrated England in the crucial Six Nations match against Wales, has been left off the IRB's list of appointments for the 30 scheduled Tests in early summer. He will oversee only the opening British and Irish Lions tour match in Hong Kong.

Wales lose lead as Scots beaten again

Wales surrendered the lead to lose 2-1 to Croatia in Swansea, a defeat that all but ends their slim qualification hopes. Gareth Bale's penalty was cancelled out by late strikes from Dejan Lovren and Eduardo. Elsewhere in Group A, Scotland went down 2-0 in Serbia. MORE

London Welsh fail in penalty appeal

London Welsh had their appeal against a points deduction turned down. While the RFU conceded some ground on the penalty, given for fielding an ineligible player, a panel had to "acknowledge the impact on the integrity of the game". MORE

Feature: John Amaechi

The Olympic legacy has always been b******s. Legacy costs money, takes forward planning. I would be very surprised if we even had a basketball team [in Rio] in 2016; I'd be shocked, frankly. MORE

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