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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 8 January 2014

Sunderland ensure Moyes misery continues in cup

Manchester United's struggles continued last night as they went down to a third consecutive defeat with a 2-1 loss at Sunderland in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Ryan Giggs put through his own net on the stroke of half-time to open the scoring for Gus Poyet's side, before Nemanja Vidic headed in an equaliser for United shortly after the break.

Fabio Borini, on loan from Liverpool, restored Sunderland's lead from the spot after Tom Cleverley brought down Adam Johnson, giving Sunderland the advantage to take to Old Trafford for the second leg a fortnight tonight.

"It is difficult. We just need to keep going," United manager David Moyes said. "We didn't do a lot wrong. I thought the referee was going to blow in our direction for the first goal. I couldn't believe he gave a free-kick. It was a terrible decision."

Poyet admitted his side may have been fortunate. "It was a very tight game, sometimes a decision goes for you," he said. "It's not easy to beat United but we go to Old Trafford with a lead. It's been a long time since we were in a final so we will try our best." MORE

Flower ready to quit over Pietersen

Andy Flower could walk away from his role as England team director unless Kevin Pietersen is dropped from the national side. The relationship between the pair is understood to have deteriorated so that Flower is not prepared to work with the outspoken batsman. MORE

Australia's Clarke wants No 1 ranking

Australia captain Michael Clarke has called on his team to build on their Ashes success and climb to No 1 in the Test rankings. "That's what I'm looking at," he said. "Every day I see my dream and my goal, which is for us to be the No 1 in the world. I'm not taking my eyes off that." MORE

Morata unlikely to join Arsenal

Arsenal face disappointment in their efforts to sign Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata this month as they seek answers to their striking crisis. The Spanish side are unwilling to sell in the transfer window, leaving Gunners manager Arsène Wenger to look elsewhere for reinforcements. MORE

Allardyce: pressure off my side tonight

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce will welcome the change of scene at Manchester City in the Capital One Cup semi-final tonight. "We don't have the same pressure [as] in the Premier League," he said. "We don't have to beat them. We have to come back with something." MORE

England struggle to draw before Ashes

England were forced to settle for a draw in their Ashes warm-up match with Australia A in Perth yesterday. Pace bowler Anya Shrubsole took three wickets as the hosts ended the second and final day on 301 for 7 in reply to England's total of 386. MORE

Hutchins thankful for 'rock' Murray

Ross Hutchins has thanked Andy Murray for his support during a year out for cancer treatment. "He's been a rock," Hutchins said. "I've always known how he can be generous with people close to him. That's what he's done for me." MORE

Devastated Vonn out of Sochi Games

Lindsey Vonn has been ruled out of next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi due to a knee injury. The 2010 downhill gold medallist tore knee ligaments in February and again in November and last month. "I am devastated," the 29-year-old said. MORE

Smith changes his mind on retirement

Olympic medallist Louis Smith has put his retirement on hold and hopes to compete for England at the Commonwealth Games this year. "My feelings have changed," he said. "Qualifying will be no easy feat. But I can very much compete." MORE

Bristol bring in Peel and Perenise

Sale and Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel and Bath's Samoan prop Anthony Perenise will join Bristol at the end of the season. "This is a major coup for the club," their rugby director, Andy Robinson, said. MORE

Ian Bell

To lose 5-0, by the margins we have, is unacceptable. I can only apologise to all the people who we have let down. We've been hurt, humiliated and humbled. We won't achieve anything by pretending otherwise. MORE

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