The Sports Matrix: Thursday 1 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Robben condemns England after late fightback

Arjen Robben's stoppage-time goal snatched a 3-2 win for the Netherlands over England at Wembley last night, after Stuart Pearce's side had fought back from 2-0 down with five minutes to go.

After an even first half, with few chances, the Dutch raced away in the second. Robben opened the scoring on 57 minutes when he ran from inside his own half before shooting left-footed into the bottom corner. The substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar doubled the lead almost immediately, heading home a Dirk Kuyt cross.

With five minutes left Gary Cahill received a through-ball from Leighton Baines, turned and beat Maarten Stekelenburg from close range. In the last minute of normal time, Ashley Young chipped in from Phil Jones' pass. But in added time Robben was free in the box and his shot deflected off Cahill and past Joe Hart. MORE

United to extend Berbatov contract

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov will this month have his contract extended until the end of next season. The 31-year-old forward has been on the fringes this year, but United intend to exercise their "one-way" option to keep him at Old Trafford. MORE

Wednesday sack manager Megson

Sheffield Wednesday parted company with manager Gary Megson last night. They are currently third in League One. "This was a very difficult decision," said the chairman Milan Mandaric. "We have a better chance of promotion by making the change."

Liverpool keen to avoid new race row

Liverpool were quick to distance themselves from a further race row last night involving Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The 29-year-old features in a Spanish television advertisement which has been pulled owing to its perceived racially offensive content. MORE

Lansbury double sets up U21s rout

Two goals from Henri Lansbury helped England Under-21s to a 4-0 win over Belgium in a Euro 2013 qualifier last night. Lansbury curled one in from distance, and Steven Caulker and Lansbury added goals before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's penalty. MORE

England frustrated by Morgan recall

England caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster has admitted his frustration at Scarlets' recalling of Ben Morgan for a club match. "We tried to talk Scarlets into letting Ben stay," he said. "But it was their call and they required him for their game." MORE

Ireland keep faith with winning 22

Ireland have kept faith with the same 22-man squad that overcame Italy for Sunday's trip to France. Conor Murray retains his place ahead of Leinster's Eoin Reddan, who impressed as a substitute in last weekend's win over the Italians. MORE

British athletes all to face testing

UK Anti-Doping is to test every member of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes before this summer's Games. The organisation will also test visiting athletes. "We want to lead the way in promoting clean sport," chief executive Andy Parkinson said. MORE

Murray ready for big hitter Berdych

Andy Murray is prepared for a tough match in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Championships when he faces the 6ft 5in Tomas Berdych today. "I've always enjoyed playing big hitters," he said. "I'll have to use a lot of variety in my game." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Stuart Pearce was a very worthy appointment, but the distinctly superior performance of the Dutch last night inevitably placed a limit on his horizons. Although he must have guessed there was new English resolve. MORE