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The Sports Matrix: Monday 10 December 2012


Van Persie strikes late as Ferdinand is left bloodied by coin in fiery derby

Manchester City last night apologised to Rio Ferdinand as the Football Association and police launched an investigation into the throwing of a coin which struck the defender above the left eye while he celebrated Robin van Persie's winning goal.

City were examining CCTV footage in an attempt to identify the fan, whose two-pence coin struck Ferdinand as he was about to lift his shirt in triumph as United went 3-2 ahead.

The 34-year-old was left wiping blood from his face, and the FA, who will liaise with Greater Manchester Police, said the supporter faces a lifetime ban – as does a man arrested by police on suspicion of fan-on-fan racist abuse after Van Persie's strike.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart got in between Ferdinand and a supporter who came on to the pitch to confront the defender, with Ferdinand later tweeting: "Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far... calm it!"

The FA also condemned the missile throwing, in which Wayne Rooney was also showered with coins, as "appalling" and "unacceptable". The investigations compounded a desperate afternoon for the City manager, Roberto Mancini, who publicly criticised Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez last night.

Mancini, above, said of Balotelli: "I love Mario as a guy and a player, but it is important for him to start to think about his job. He has everything to play well, we wanted more from him, he has everything but he cannot play like he played today. When you have the quality that Mario has, you can't understand it, how can you throw his quality out of the window? I have seen players like that with fantastic quality who end up with nothing."

England wrap up famous victory

Ian Bell's 28 not out helped England secure a seven-wicket victory over India yesterday morning to go 2-1 up in the Test series. India's defeat in Kolkata was the first time they have lost back-to-back Tests on home soil since 1999-2000. MORE

Leicester hold off resilient Treviso

Leicester Tigers moved clear of Ospreys in Heineken Cup Pool Two after a bonus-point 33-25 win over Treviso at Welford Road yesterday, denying what would have been a first win on English soil for the men from Veneto for 12 seasons. MORE

Messi breaks Muller record

Lionel Messi's second goal for Barcelona against Real Betis last night marked his 86th of 2012, breaking Gerd Muller's record for most goals in a calendar year. The trademark strike put an end to the German's record, which has been held since 1972.

Opinion: Sam Wallace

As Chelsea and Corinthians, left, arrive in Japan for the Fifa World Club Cup, the real contest will be Europe's finan- cial superiority versus the strength in depth of South American teams. MORE

Former Hammers foil Allardyce

Liverpool scored two late goals to beat West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park, with help from former Hammers Glen Johnson and Joe Cole. The West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, who faces losing Mohamed Diamé with a long-term injury, said: "We have to take it on the chin." MORE

Toon desperate to get back on track

Newcastle will look to register back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they face a trip to Fulham tonight, who welcome back Brede Hangeland from suspension. Fulham, who have not won since 20 October, are currently level on points with Alan Pardew's side in 13th.

Two stoppage-time goals dump Spurs

Two stoppage-time goals produced a sensational turnaround at Goodison Park as Everton beat Tottenham 2-1 to put David Moyes' men in fourth spot. Clint Dempsey put Spurs ahead, before Steven Pienaar equalised. Nikica Jelavic grabbed the winner in the 94th minute. MORE