The Sports Matrix: Thursday 10 January 2013


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The Independent Online

Michu and Graham put Swansea in touching distance

Swansea continued their fine season with an unlikely 2-0 victory at Chelsea last night to put them tantalisingly close to next month's Capital One Cup final at Wembley.Two mistakes from defender Branislav Ivanovic, towards the end of each half, allowed the Welsh side to secure a first-leg victory through forwards Michu and Danny Graham.

Despite enjoying the majority of possession and chances in the first half, the hosts fell behind on 39 minutes. Ivanovic, above, was caught in possession outside the area and Jonathan de Guzman fed Michu, who beat Ross Turnbull with ease for his 16th of the season. Ashley Williams and Gerhard Tremmel shone in defiance before Ivanovic's slack back-pass was seized upon by Graham in injury time to cement the win. Demba Ba had a late strike disallowed for off-side and was booked for diving. MORE

Adebayor opts to join up with Togo

Emmanuel Adebayor is expected to feature for Spurs at QPR on Saturday before joining up with Togo for the African Cup of Nations. The forward's decision to reverse his international retirement could leave Spurs with a shortage of striking options for up to a month. MORE

Appleton holds talks with Rovers

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton has held informal talks with Blackburn Rovers over the Ewood Park's side's managerial vacancy. The 37-year-old has only been at Blackpool for two months but has become disenchanted with the way in which the club is being run. MORE

United make first move for Zaha

Manchester United have opened negotiations with Crystal Palace over a move for Wilfried Zaha, with indications suggesting they will have no competition in their pursuit. United's offer may be short of Palace's valuation but the Championship club could decide to sell before the summer. MORE

Millar: Armstrong will get easy ride

British cyclist David Millar does not believe Lance Armstrong's TV interview next week will offer a proper examination of his offences. "It is not sitting in front of a judge or disciplinary hearing being properly questioned," he said. "I doubt it will be a proper interrogation." MORE

Giles: KP could swing series for us

Ashley Giles believes Kevin Pietersen will prove influential in the one-day series in India. "It is great to have him," the England coach said. "He is a world-class player and I'm looking forward to working with him on a different level." MORE

Bell: Test ton has taken pressure off

"My hundred in the last Test gave me the time to get my footwork right and also my alignment right, I'm stiller at the crease and that feeling of intense pressure has gone. There's definitely a different atmosphere around the place." - Ian Bell.  MORE

England unlikely to make changes

The England coach, Stuart Lancaster, is expected to make minimal changes to his starting line-up for their opening Six Nations match next month, despite a number of adjustments. Alex Corbisiero and Alex Goode remain injury doubts. MORE

Hutchins thanks Murray for support

Ross Hutchins has hailed best friend Andy Murray's help since his cancer diagnosis. "He has been brilliant," Hutchins said. "He has sent a gift and is asking every day how I'm feeling. He has been absolutely unbelievable and so supportive." MORE

Chopra 'cannot afford' to fight case

The Ipswich Town striker Michael Chopra has claimed he could not afford legal costs to clear his name as he faces corruption charges, and would be grateful for any prohibition from racecourses. MORE

James Lawton

There is one last opportunity for Lance Armstrong to display some of that courage so many believed was the most basic strength of his character. He can do the best thing he ever did. He can tell the truth. MORE