The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 6 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Real send United tumbling out after Nani red card

Manchester United were sent crashing out of Europe last night by Real Madrid, losing 2-1 – 3-2 on aggregate – as the United midfielder Nani was controversially sent-off.

After an even but goalless first-half, and with Wayne Rooney dropped to the bench, Sergio Ramos inadvertently put the hosts ahead, sliding in Nani's left-wing cross on 48 minutes following a slight deflection off Danny Welbeck. The Portuguese lasted just seven more minutes before being surprisingly dismissed for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa.

The extra man helped Real seize the iniative, the former Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric levelling the tie from distance before ex-United player Cristiano Ronaldo, above, touched home the winner from close range. MORE

Farrell: Players take responsibility

England defence coach Andy Farrell says the side are taking more individual responsibility. "The encouraging thing is they take responsibility for themselves," he said ahead of Sunday's match with Italy. "There's a lot of self-policing going on." MORE

Infection takes Imperial out of Cup

Imperial Commander has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup due to a lung infection. "He's got an infection, so that's that," trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies lamented. "What can you do? It's an absolute sickener." MORE

Warburton happy to be back in side

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has insisted he is just happy to be back in the side for this weekend's match with Scotland. "Getting the captaincy back won't be a motivating factor," the flanker said. "It will just be to play well." MORE

Maynard inquest to lead to reform

The findings of the Tom Maynard inquest will lead to global guidelines on drug testings to be issued to player unions. "We will recommend a whole range of measures," Tim May, head of the Federation of International Cricketer's Associations, said. MORE

Cook looking forward to big 2013

England captain Alastair Cook is looking forward to a big year of international cricket as the first Test in New Zealand started last night. "We have the chance to do something very special," the batsman said. "It is a great challenge for us as a side." MORE

Hornets close gap as Cardiff stutter

Championship leaders Cardiff continued their stuttering form, a 1-1 draw at home to Derby allowing Watford to close the gap at the top to five points with a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Fourth-placed Crystal Palace beat Hull 4-2 to move to within a point of the Tigers. MORE

Dortmund ease into quarter-finals

Borussia Dortmund coasted through to the last eight of the Champions League, a 3-0 home victory over Shakhtar Donetsk securing a 5-2 aggregate win. Felipe Santana and Mario Götze scored in the first-half before Jakub Blaszczykowski added a third on the hour.

Lennon: Celtic will go down fighting

Neil Lennon has ordered his Celtic side to go down fighting as they attempt to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Juventus in the Champions League tonight. "It would be a tall order to win the tie 4-0 or 4-1," he said. "But we are capable of winning and that's what we would like to do." MORE

Evra earns United contract extension

Patrice Evra will be offered a 12-month extension to his Manchester United contract as his current deal nears an end next summer. The France defender has enjoyed an impressive campaign and has been linked with a £5m move back to his homeland and Paris Saint-Germain.

Feature: Andy Murray

The Scot says he is in a "good place" as he returns to action for the first time since the Australian Open. "I'm going into every tournament with the aim of winning," he said. "I'm in a good place right now." MORE