The Sports Matrix: Friday 21 December 2012


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The Independent Online

Perez relishes Real's clash with Manchester United

The Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, said he was more than happy to have drawn Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League. "It's a good draw," Perez said. "We have played them twice before and knocked them out both times." Real defeated United in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2000 and 2003.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, revelled in the chance to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo, above, back to Old Trafford as well as Real's manager, Jose Mourinho.

"Well, it's the tie of the round," Ferguson enthused. "It's a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with Jose again – I'll need to order some good wine!"

Real Madrid host United at the Santiago Bernabeu on 13 February. The return leg is on 5 March. Arsenal will face Bayern Munich, Bundesliga leaders and beaten finalists in 2010 and 2012, while Celtic will play Italian champions Juventus. MORE

Kompany doubtful for Reading return

The Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, is a major doubt for the home game against Reading tomorrow with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Jack Rodwell will be out until the new year with the hamstring injury, as will Samir Nasri, who has a groin problem. MORE

Wenger: Walcott owes Arsenal

Arsène Wenger says Theo Walcott owes Arsenal a debt after the club took a "gamble" by signing him from Southampton for £5m in 2006. "Somewhere along the line they [players] need to give back to the club what the club has given to them," said the Arsenal manager. MORE

Villas-Boas excited for Lyon clash

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas described his team's draw with Lyon in the last 32 of the Europa League as "tremendous" but also "one of the worst you could get". He said the tie with the side who sit second in Ligue 1, would be a "Champions League dress rehearsal". MORE

Brown: Celtic must watch out for Pirlo

Celtic midfielder Scott Brown admits he will face a formidable opponent when he lines up against the experienced Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo in the last 16 of the Champions League. Brown said: "He's the one that we are going to really have to watch out for." MORE

Ferrari chief slams F1 race atmosphere

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has criticised F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and the atmosphere at races. He said: "You go to the pits in some circuits in F1 and it's like a desert. Do you think it's good that we race in the middle of nowhere?" MORE

England 'lacked discipline' in loss

Stand-in captain Eoin Morgan said England "lacked a bit of discipline" after India won the first Twenty20 international by five wickets in Pune. England were limited to 157-6 before India reached their target with 13 balls to spare. MORE

FA agrees to anti-racism plan

Clubs will face sanctions for failing to deal with racism by players, coaches or their fans, under football's new anti-discrimination drive. The FA will also strive for 10 per cent of referees and level-one coaches coming from ethnic minority backgrounds. MORE

Rodgers hopes Sterling kicks on

The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, has urged Raheem Sterling, 18, to keep improving after signing a five-year deal worth around £35,000 a week. He said: "It is our job to nurture him and educate him and there is still so much for him to learn." MORE

Johnson handed Scotland audition

The Scottish Rugby Union has promoted Australian Scott Johnson from attack coach to interim head coach of Scotland for the 2013 Six Nations Championship and the end-of-season tour to South Africa. MORE

Interview: Peter Wilson

Shooter explains to Robin Scott-Elliot why he is revelling in Dorset family life again after he experienced the "unique feeling" of winning double trap shotgun gold at the London Olympics. MORE