The Sports Matrix: Monday 26 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Cissé takes flight to leave Magpies dreaming of Europe

Newcastle United moved level with fifth-placed Chelsea after coasting to a 3-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion yesterday. Papiss Cissé struck twice in the first-half to take his tally to five goals in six games for the North-East side since his move from Freiburg, with Hatem Ben Arfa scoring in between the Senegalese's strikes. Shane Long hit a second-half consolation for the hosts but Alan Pardew's side comfortably held on for the win to move eight points clear of Liverpool and trail Chelsea on goal difference alone. In the final game of the weekend, champions Manchester United host Fulham tonight looking to move back above neighbours City at the top of the table. MORE

Celtic party on hold as Gers edge derby

Rangers forced Celtic to keep their title champagne on ice after beating their neighbours 3-2 at Ibrox. Ally McCoist's side went three up through Sone Aluko, Andy Little and Lee Wallace as Celtic were reduced to nine men. Celtic can win the title this weekend. MORE

Hudson secures point for Cardiff

Mark Hudson's late volley rescued a point for Cardiff City as they held Birmingham to a 1-1 draw at St Andrews. Erik Huseklepp had opened the scoring with just over twenty minutes remaining but the Bluebirds hit back to remain level on points with their hosts. MORE

Spireites victorious as Bradbury sacked

Chesterfield won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley yesterday, two second-half goals helping John Sheridan's side to a 2-0 victory over Swindon. Elsewhere, Bournemouth sacked manager Lee Bradbury after a run of one victory in nine matches.

Wales' Gatland 'offered Lions job'

Wales' two-time Grand Slam-winning coach, Warren Gatland, has reportedly been offered the job of head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the 2013 tour of Australia. Wales will release him for the 2013 season and he is thought to be discussing personal terms.

Alonso wins to take championship lead

Fernando Alonso won the second race of the season at a wet Sepang yesterday to move to the top of the championship standings. The Spaniard edged out Sauber's superb Mexican, Sergio Perez, while Britain's Lewis Hamilton completed the podium. MORE

Sri Lanka looking to 'crack' England

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has admitted his side went into this morning's opening Test with England seeking to exploit any signs of mental weakness. "We will push everyone to the limit and see who cracks," the 34-year-old said. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

This is smoke and mirrors without licence by Kenny Dalglish. The league position of Liverpool, as ex-managers never tire of saying, is not a disposable guide to progress but an unshakeable measure- ment of its intrinsic worth. MORE