The Sports Matrix: Friday 11 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Gallas hopes to avoid Barcelona

Tottenham defender William Gallas has said that they want anyone but Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final. “After what we saw [on Tuesday night] nobody wants Barcelona”, said that 33-year-old. The draw takes place next Friday. MORE

Strauss prepared to wait on openers

Andrew Strauss has admitted he is unsure over England’s best opening partnership. “I don’t think we’re nailed on to playing the same opening partnership all the way through,” the captain said ahead of this morning’s group match with Bangladesh. MORE

Mammoth stand gives Sri Lanka win

The second highest stand in World Cup history helped Sri Lanka through to the quarter-finals. Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 282, in a total of 327. Zimbabwe were then bowled out for just 188. MORE

Fifa begins inquiry into match-fixing

Fifa yesterday began action against the match officials from two international friendlies played last month, suspected of being the target of match-fixing. Bolivia v Latvia and Estonia v Bulgaria included seven penalties, and €5m was bet on the latter tie. MORE

Paterson confident of upsetting odds

Chris Paterson retains hope of Scotland gaining a positive result in Sunday’s Calcutta Cup game against England. “They’re on form - and we’re the opposite,” he said. “We are underdogs but in international rugby anybody can beat anybody.” MORE

Wenger: Uefa in the wrong, not Arsenal

Arsène Wenger has said that Uefa should show “a bit more humility” after his charge for criticising the refereeing of Arsenal’s defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday. He denied the charge, but said Uefa should apologise for the decision to send off Robin van Persie. MORE

Klöden takes hilly Paris-Nice stage

Andreas Klöden yesterday won the fifth stage of Paris-Nice, 11 years after he triumphed in the race. The 35-year-old German beat Samuel Sanchez of Spain in a sprint, to take the hilly 193km stage. Today’s stage is a 27km individual time trial. MORE

Rangers battle to draw in Eindhoven

Rangers drew their last 16 first leg tie 0-0 away at PSV Eindhoven. The hosts were the stronger side, and had the better chances, two of them falling to Marcus Berg. But Kyle Bartley nearly won it with a late header, saved by Andreas Isaksson. MORE

Storms spoil Miami Championship

Bad weather disrupted the first round of the WGC Cadillac Championship in Miami yesterday. Only 30 minutes of play was possible before a thunderstorm hit the course. The main scoreboard was destroyed by wind, and two TV towers were toppled. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The praise for Barcelona is getting ridiculous. It is on a flood tide, gushing into every corner of the game and submerging some of their most compelling rivals of the quite recent past: especially Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan side. MORE

City struggling after Kiev defeat

Manchester City’s hopes of winning the Europa League were damaged last night by a 2-0 away defeat to Dynamo Kiev. The Ukrainian side were excellent and, in difficult conditions, City looked tired and flat. After a fairly even start the hosts took the lead after 25 minutes through veteran striker Andrei Shevchenko. David Silva allowed Andrei Yarmolenko to cross from the left, and Shevchenko escaped from Aleksandar Kolarov at the near post to head past Joe Hart. From then on Dynamo were much the better side, breaking forward intelligently, while City’s midfield struggled to get a hold in the game. In the second half City were marginally improved, Joleon Lescott and Yaya Touré had shots saved. But with 13 minutes left Oleh Gusev volleyed in a crucial second, to give City a very difficult task in the second leg. MORE

Alan penalty sends Liverpool to defeat

Liverpool lost their last 16 first leg game 1-0 in Braga. The only goal was a first half penalty from Alan, which came after Sotiris Kyrgiakos fouled Mossoro. Silvio later hit the bar for the hosts, while Liverpool’s best chance was a deflected Andy Carroll shot. MORE

Long Run in ‘good shape’ for Gold Cup

Sam Waley-Cohen, due to ride second-favourite Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup next week, tells i how he is dealing with the nerves. “It’s a time of high tension when people find fault with the slightest things”, he said. But the horse is in “good shape”. MORE