The Sports Matrix: Friday 5 August 2011

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The Independent Online

Last-gasp Shotton sees Stoke through

An injury-time goal from defender Ryan Shotton, used as an emergency forward, earned Stoke a 1-0 victory at Hajduk Split to send Tony Pulis’s side through 2-0 on aggregate. Stoke will find out the identity of their play-off opponents in today’s draw. MORE

Federer hoping for prolonged career

Roger Federer has no plans to slow down as he approaches his 30th birthday. “I find inspiration from guys who played for a long time, like Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver,” he said. “It’s inspiring, what they were able to do over a long period.” MORE

Arsenal discover play-off opponents

Arsenal will today find out who they must overcome if they are to reach the Champions League group stages for a 14th consecutive season. As a seeded team in the ‘League route’, they will draw one of five teams. MORE

Fulham complete English quartet

Fulham joined Stoke, Birmingham and Tottenham in the playoff round after overcoming RNK Split 2-0, Andy Johnson and Danny Murphy scoring for Martin Jol’s side. Hearts also progressed, but Irish sides St Patricks and Sligo Rovers went out. MORE

Cavendish’s team is in final straight

Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad team have announced that they are to quit the sport at the end of 2011. Cavendish has been heavily linked with a move to Team Sky. “It [is] best to let people pursue their own interests,” team owner Bob Stapleton said.

Westwood begins with fine round

Lee Westwood gave his best putting display “since 2009” as he carded an impressive 67 in the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational. “I haven’t had a good putting week all year,” the world No 2 said. “I haven’t had one since Dubai in 2009.” MORE

Tuilagi happy with home from home

Manu Tuilagi, who makes his England debut tomorrow, says his former countrymen are happy to see him represent a new country. “There has been no negativity from people back home,” he said. “They are proud of what I’m achieving here.” MORE

Chelsea sign Barça midfielder Romeu

Chelsea have completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu, for £4.35m. The 19-year-old, who can also play in defence, joins on a four-year deal from the European champions. He is currently representing Spain at the Under-20 World Cup. MORE

Defiant Ambrose frustrates Lancs

A defiant 66 from Tim Ambrose helped Warwickshire to a draw in their County Championship match at Lancashire. Chasing 290 to win, the visitors were in trouble at 92 for 4 before two half-century stands involving Ambrose helped the Bears close out. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The bitter truth for Arsène Wenger and Arsenal’s following is that while all their rivals have strengthened, or in the case of Chelsea, remotivated their squads, their own club appears to be more than anything locked in denial. MORE

Eriksson has little sympathy for homesick players

Sven Goran Eriksson has admitted he struggles to sympathise with modern-day players who complain of homesickness. Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli this week echoed comments from his team-mate, Carlos Tevez, regarding his perceived difficulties of living in Manchester, but Eriksson has little compassion. “Maybe I’m old now but I find it very difficult to understand that,” the Swede, who managed Manchester City for the 2007/08 season and was also in charge of England for five years, said. Former Manchester United striker, Eric Cantona, also expressed his bemusement over the homesickness earlier this week. “I lived in so many places but I was always happy,” Eriksson continued. “There’s more sunshine in Rome than in Manchester but there’s nothing wrong with Manchester. Yes, it rains a lot – but there you go. You are there to work, not for holidays. No, I don’t understand that.” Eriksson yesterday unveiled Gelson Fernandes as his latest signing at Leicester City. The Swiss midfielder, who joins on loan from St- Etienne, is the fifth player signed by Eriksson whom also worked under the Swede at City. MORE

Jones and Wilshere make Capello cut

Manchester United defender Phil Jones has been included in Fabio Capello’s provisional squad for next week’s friendly with the Netherlands. Jack Wilshere, of Arsenal, has also been included, despite suffering an ankle injury in a friendly last weekend. MORE

Everton offered bitter reminder

Spanish side Villarreal visit Everton for a friendly tonight, six years after overcoming David Moyes’s side in a Champions League qualifier. i analyses how far the Goodison Park side have fallen since that 2005 night, and the problems they now face. MORE