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The Sports Matrix: Friday 21 October 2011

Grown-up Balotelli happy now at City

Mario Balotelli says he has matured and is happy at Manchester City. “This year I feel more free,” said the 21-year-old forward. “I am growing up. I’m happy – the only problem in England is the weather. Everything [else] is getting better.” MORE

Hook hopeful of bronze finish

James Hook is hopeful of winning a bronze medal for Wales as they face Australia at 8.30 this morning. “If we could claim a Tri-Nations scalp in the southern hemisphere, it would give us a massive boost going into the Six Nations,” said the fly-half. MORE

India seal series success with win

India beat England by five wickets in Mohali to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Jonathan Trott hit an unbeaten 98 as England scored 298 for 4, a total India passed with four balls left. Ajinkya Rahane hit 91. MORE

Dalglish supports Suarez over row

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has backed his striker Luis Suarez, who is in a racism row with Patrice Evra following the Manchester United full-back’s accusations after last Saturday’s match. “The football club is fully behind Suarez,” he said. MORE

Clerc: All Blacks can be beaten

French right wing Vincent Clerc believes New Zealand can be beaten in Sunday’s World Cup final. “We know we’re capable of playing the match we need to play,” said Clerc. “This game is in the future. New Zealand are not world champions yet.” MORE

Luiz puts faith in hands-on approach

David Luiz’s act of touching teammate Fernando Torres on the head before the striker scored twice to help Chelsea beat Genk on Wednesday was rooted in the Brazilian’s Christianity, rather than superstition. “It gives me strength and inspiration,” said Luiz. MORE

Keothavong beats former world No 1

British No 3 Anne Keothavong delivered a superb performance to defeat the former world No 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-2, in the Luxembourg Open last night. The Serbian is ranked 23 to Keothavong’s 93 in the world.

Opinion: James Lawton

Stephen Jones, perhaps on duty for the last time for Wales when he understudies James Hook, says he has come not to bury a meaningless match but to praise some exceptional young men who are a credit to their nation. MORE

Pavlyuchenko’s rocket fuels Spurs triumph

Roman Pavlyuchenko’s stunning 25-yard free-kick earned Tottenham a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan at White Hart Lane last night to go top of Group A. The forward struck in the 33rd minute, drilling home into the top right-hand corner. Stoke claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Group E, with Kenwyne Jones, Cameron Jerome and Ryan Shotton all scoring in the first half. But the result was soured as Jerome was sent off before the break, adjudged to have elbowed Yoav Ziv who was later dismissed. Celtic recovered from a bizarre own-goal to draw 1-1 at Rennes in Group I. Benoît Costil’s long goalkick headed harmlessly back to Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster but there was no communication between him and Cha Du-ri, who helped the ball on and watched as it trickled into the net. But Joe Ledley’s 70th-minute header levelled the score. MORE

Blatter to reveal Fifa’s reform plans

Sepp Blatter will today reveal his proposed reforms to how Fifa is governed in a bid to restore credibility to the body dogged by corruption allegations. The depth of reform depends on whether he can secure the backing of the executive committee. MORE

Radcliffe looking to complete full set

Paula Radcliffe believes her medal collection will not be complete without success in London next year. “I have achieved a lot and I’m grateful,” she said. “I’m just a bit greedy because I want to add the Olympics – everyone wants it and very few people get it.” MORE

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