The Sports Matrix: Monday 28 November 2011


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Mancini accuses Liverpool of provoking Balotelli

Roberto Mancini last night said that Liverpool players pressured Martin Atkinson into sending off Mario Balotelli in yesterday's 1-1 draw at Anfield.

"Every time Mario does something players provoke him," Mancini (right) said, after Balotelli was booked twice in an 18-minute appearance. "[My] impression [was] that the referee gave a free-kick but didn't want to give a yellow card. After, all the Liverpool players went there [saying] 'yellow card, yellow card'. Mario should be careful because many players can provoke him."

Balotelli's two yellow cards came in the second half of a dramatic 1-1 draw. Vincent Kompany headed City into the lead before Joleon Lescott diverted Charlie Adam's shot past Joe Hart to equalise. Liverpool had the better of the second half and Hart saved from Andy Carroll's late header. City stay five points clear of Manchester United. MORE

Rangers slip after Kilmarnock loss

Rangers lost their first game of the season yesterday, going down 1-0 at Kilmarnock. Manuel Pascali headed home with 10 minutes left for Kilmarnock's first win over Rangers since 1994. The Gers are still four points ahead of Celtic at the top of the SPL table. MORE

Tributes flood in after Speed's death

Football paid tribute yesterday following news of the death of Wales manager Gary Speed. "For him – at 42 – to leave us is such a tragic loss," said Howard Wilkinson, who managed Speed at Leeds United. "I'm numb," said his friend Michael Owen. MORE

Overshadowed game ends in draw

Swansea City drew their home game 0-0 with Aston Villa amid a sombre atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium. After both silence and applause before the game, Swansea striker Leroy Lita, on as a substitute, had the game's best two chances. MORE

Webber pips Vettel to win in Brazil

Red Bull's Mark Webber won the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday, his first victory of the season. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel took the lead but had gearbox trouble, letting Webber pass him with the German second. McLaren's Jenson Button took third. MORE

White open to England coach role

Jake White, the coach who guided his native South Africa to World Cup victory in 2007, said he would consider returning to international rugby management with England. "I'm sure if the opportunity came about, I'd like to do it again," said the Bumbies coach.MORE

Federer claims title in London

World No 4 Roger Federer claimed his sixth ATP World Tour Finals title last night after defeating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 at London's 02 Arena. It was the 30-year-old Swiss' 70th career title in his 100th Tour final.MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Roberto Mancini sent Mario Balotelli (left) into a game that was slipping away in the hope he would turn back Liverpool's growing momentum. Instead, what he had was the parody of a professional performance. MORE