The Sports Matrix: Friday 6 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Giggs confident ahead of showdown

While declaring that playing for a draw against Chelsea would be “dangerous”, Ryan Giggs is confident Manchester United will prevail in Sunday’s showdown. “You don’t have to worry too much,” he said, “We always fancy ourselves at Old Trafford.” MORE

Portuguese pair book Dublin date

This season’s Europa League final will be an all-Portuguese affair, with Braga taking on Porto in Dublin in 12 days’ time. Braga beat Benfica 1-0 in last night’s second leg to go through on away goals, while Porto lost 3-2 at Villarreal, but went through 7-4 overall. MORE

Radcliffe has no plans to retire

Paula Radcliffe has dismissed suggestions she would retire should she win Olympic Gold next summer. “I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” she told i. “I’ve had a very long career, but this is still what I most want to do.” MORE

Ferguson: Fletcher makes difference

Sir Alex Ferguson believes the return of Darren Fletcher can prove the decisive factor in the Champions League final against Barcelona. The midfielder missed the 2009 final through suspension. “He’s a big-game player,” the manager said. MORE

Wright: Double career ‘not ideal’

Nigel Wright has admitted that combining his work as a gym teacher with coaching Barrow is “not ideal.”. “It’s a busy life,” he said ahead of Sunday’s trip to former club Wigan. “But Barrow knew the situation when they appointed me.” MORE

Hamilton hopeful for dry conditions

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that the unfamiliarity of new wet tyres could impact on this weekend’s Turkish GP. “None of us have had a lot of time on the wet tyres,” he said. “I hope it dries up so we don’t have to experience that.” MORE

Tevez impresses in race to make final

Carlos Tevez’s chances of featuring in next week’s FA Cup final increased after the forward put in an impressive showing in training. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, however, urged caution. “I need every player 200 per cent for the final,” he said. MORE

Dragons may give Blues a hand

If Newport-Gwent Dragons beat Ulster in the final Magners League regular-season game tonight, they will do a favour to their rivals Cardiff Blues. Ulster are just ahead of Blues in the playoff places, and Blues may need help as they play Scarlets. MORE

Each captain offers something different

While the hope is that both [Alastair] Cook and [Stuart] Broad will learn from [Andrew] Strauss, each will bring different characteristics to bear on the dressing room, and who knows what effect that might have? MORE

Murray sent home by Bellucci

Andy Murray was knocked out of the Madrid Masters last night after losing in the third round 6-4, 6-2 to the Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. His opponent will now play Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinal, while Murray has two weeks before the French Open. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Sir Alex Ferguson has been fighting his wars with all the old furies this challenging season. While his younger rivals have shown various degrees of strain, he has seemed to grow even stronger at the scale of his challenge. MORE

England adopt new three-captain plan

Andrew Strauss, who retired from one-day cricket yesterday, insists that he wants to continue playing; although he could not guarantee that he would lead England to the 2013 Ashes. “I’ve still got a huge amount of drive and determination to take the Test team forward,” he said. “I think it’s wrong to look too far ahead.” Coach Andy Flower said he was “excited about the opportunity,” which had never been tried before in international cricket. MORE

Lancashire move ahead at Edgbaston

Lancashire moved into a good position against Warwickshire at Edgbaston yesterday. They dismissed the visitors for 172, with three wickets for Jimmy Anderson. Then they built a lead of 173 for the loss of four wickets, thanks to 53 from Stephen Croft. MORE

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