The Sports Matrix: Thursday 01 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Hughes in frame after Bruce sacked by Sunderland

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was sacked last night by chairman Ellis Short after a poor run of form which culminated in the club's 2-1 home defeat to Wigan on Saturday. Bruce (above), who had been at Sunderland for two-and-a-half years, had been weakened by the £24m departure of Darren Bent to Aston Villa in January, after which the side struggled for goals. Under Bruce, Sunderland had won at home just twice since New Year's Day. Mark Hughes, the former Fulham manager, has emerged as a strong front-runner for a role. Martin O'Neill, formerly at Aston Villa, is also expected to be a candidate. MORE

Kean: I didn't give up on quarter-final

Steve Kean, the Blackburn Rovers manager, last night denied he had suggesting that his side had "forfeited" their Carling Cup quarter-final with Cardiff City, which they lost 2-0. "I refute suggestions that we did not treat the game with respect," Kean said. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

They were expecting United's much-heralded Ravel Morrison to light up Old Trafford. Instead it was Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha who shone brightest, the latest off the south-east London youth production line.


Chelsea players turn against AVB

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is likely to keep his job even if the club are eliminated from the Champions League next week. But his players are understood to be perplexed by the use of a diamond formation in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and his inability to field a settled team. MORE

Controversy as Spurs fall to defeat

Tottenham lost 2-1 at home to PAOK. Dimitris Salpingidis and Stefanos Athanasiadis scored before Luka Modric's penalty cut the deficit as the Greeks were reduced to 10 men. Jermaine Defoe had an equaliser ruled out, leaving Spurs' European future hanging by a thread. MORE

United crash out to young Palace side

Crystal Palace sent Manchester United crashing out of the Carling Cup after beating them 2-1 after extra time. Darren Ambrose gave Palace the lead before Federico Macheda equalised with a penalty. Glenn Murray headed in from a free-kick late on and his side held on to reach the last four. MORE

Barton continues Newcastle row

Joey Barton challenged Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias via Twitter to "take a polygraph test live on TV", after Llambias refuted claims by the midfielder that Chris Hughton and a number of players were forced out of the club after bonus disputes. MORE

Andrew survives to take on new role

Rob Andrew survived a threat to his employment as he was appointed the Professional Rugby Director by the RFU's management board. He will be responsible for the entire elite end of the England set-up but not the Test team. The new head coach will be appointed before June. MORE

Harinordoquy Snr pitches in for son

Lucien, father of Biarritz's Imanol Harinordoquy, tried in vain to punch Bayonne's Jean-Jo Marmouyet during Tuesday's Basque derby. He was apparently trying to defend his son, who had clashed with two opponents. MORE