The Sports Matrix: Monday 7 January 2013


Handball storm as sneaky Suarez ruins Stags' night

Luis Suarez scored a disputed winning goal as Liverpool overcame non-league Mansfield 2-1 in yesterday's third-round tie at Field Mill. The Uruguayan forward appeared to control the ball with his hand as he went past Alan Marriott before scoring into an empty net to put the Premier League side two goals ahead.

"It feels like the game was stolen from us," Mansfield's chief executive Carolyn Radford said. "It is unfortunate when officials can't pick up these things. We should at least get a replay."

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers defended Suarez. "It is not his job to own up," Rodgers said. "It is not his fault. What do you want him to do in that situation? It hit his hand no question but it was not deliberate."

Debutant Daniel Sturridge had put Liverpool ahead early on, while Matt Green scored a consolation for the hosts with 10 minutes remaining. MORE

Golden Graham's goal saves Swans

Danny Graham scored two minutes from time to rescue a 2-2 draw for Swansea at home to Arsenal and earn a replay. The hosts went ahead through substitute Michu before a late turnaround from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs appeared to have taken Arsenal through. MORE

Moyes determined to avoid Cup upset

Everton manager David Moyes will use the club's 2003 loss at Shrewsbury as a warning to his players before tonight's trip to Cheltenham. "We went out then," he said. "We have to make sure it doesn't happen. There are no guarantees in football. You have to earn the right to win." MORE

Blatter criticises Boateng walk-off

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was wrong to walk off the field following racist abuse in a friendly. "I don't think that is the solution," the Swiss said. "I don't think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match." MORE

Messi set to claim fourth player title

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is expected to win his fourth Ballon d'Or world player of the year trophy tonight. The Argentine is up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta. Messi will overtake the total titles of legends such as Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten if he wins. MORE

England stumble to opening defeat

England suffered a humbling defeat in the opening match of their limited-overs tour of India, losing by 53 runs to India A in Delhi. M Vijay struck 76 for the hosts before England struggled to 72-6. Ian Bell (91) at least made their score respectable. MORE

Murray dedicates win to ill Hutchins

An emotional Andy Murray dedicated his victory in the Brisbane International to Davis Cup team-mate Ross Hutchins who has been diagnosed with cancer. "You're going to be OK," Murray said. "You're going to get through."

O'Shea unhappy with Quins' referee

Conor O'Shea, the Harlequins director of rugby, criticised Premiership refereeing following an "incredible" performance by Llyr ap Geraint Roberts in his side's 31-26 victory at London Welsh. "You'll go a long way to see worse," said O'Shea. MORE

Jones leads Wasps into the top four

Stephen Jones kicked a total of five penalties as Wasps moved into the Premiership's top four with a 29-15 win over Bath at Adams Park. The visitors kept it close in the first half before Wasps took charge of the match after the break. MORE

Rule The World sets the standard

Rule The World was an easy winner of the Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas as Champagne Fever suffered a shock defeat. The favourite was sent off at just 1-4 to beat four rivals but Rule The World won by 16 lengths.

Opinion: James Lawton

Once again, after one of the most brilliant phases of his career, Luis Suarez, left, showed that for some, doing the right thing, as opposed to simply gaining an advantage, is the most difficult of challenges. MORE