The Sports Matrix: Thursday 12 May 2011

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Foster’s ‘break’ surprises Capello

Ben Foster’s announcement yesterday that he is taking a break from England duty was a shock to Fabio Capello, who just last week asked him to delay an operation so he could face Switzerland next month. Foster said a full club season “takes it out of you”. MORE

ICC recommends trial of night Tests

The International Cricket Council said yesterday it would recommend a trial of floodlit Test matches within a year. A venue must be found and a ball chosen. “We could not afford to trial it and get it wrong,” said committee chairman Clive Lloyd. MORE

Barça win third La Liga in succession

Barcelona secured their third consecutive Spanish title last night, their ninth trophy in the three years since Pep Guardiola took over as coach. They did so with a 1-1 draw at Levante, Seydou Keita scoring their goal. MORE

Lennon attacked during Celtic win

Celtic’s 3-0 win at Hearts last night was marred by a supporter running onto the pitch and attacking Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who has been subject to threats of violence all season. Two goals were scored by Gary Hooper, the third by Kris Commons. MORE

Pietersen falls to slow left-armer

Kevin Pietersen, captaining Surrey against Cambridge MCCU yesterday, was out to a slow left-arm spinner. He has routinely struggled against such bowlers in the past. Pietersen reached 30 smoothly before being caught at slip off Zafar Ansari. MORE

Spurs to sell before buying in summer

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy wants a clear-out this summer before he will sanction new spending. Spurs will listen to offers for a number of players, including Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Vedran Corluka and Wilson Palacios. MORE

Sale set to sign up sacked Powell

Andrew Powell, the Wales No 8 sacked by Wasps after a fight in a London bar, is close to signing a two-year contract with Sale. Powell is likely to play all of next season for the club as he is not in the World Cup plans of the Wales coach, Warren Gatland. MORE

Pulis: Stoke are final underdogs

Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes that a win in Saturday’s Cup final over Manchester City would be the biggest upset since Wimbledon in 1988. “If you compare the size of the clubs and what they’ve spent,” he said, “it’s as big a void as you’ll get.” MORE

Nadal fights back to beat Lorenzi

Rafael Nadal was 7-6, 4-3 down to world No 148 Paolo Lorenzi at the Rome Masters yesterday, but came back to win the secondround match 6-7, 6-4, 6-0. Nadal made 21 unforced errors in the first set, and was seven points away from losing the next. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

David Haye says he will make his fight with Wladimir Klitschko a tribute to the late Sir Henry Cooper. But Haye’s four heavyweight bouts so far would have brought nothing but the deepest reproach in Cooper’s day. MORE

City could face Bayern play-off

Manchester City were thrilled on Tuesday night by their qualification for next season’s Champions League. But it has emerged that, should City finish fourth in the Premier League and enter the play-off round, they are highly unlikely to be seeded. This would mean having to beat a much stronger team to reach the group stage, with Bayern Munich and Villarreal among the likely seeds. The top five-ranked teams will be seeded for the play-off. This will likely leave City relying on at least one of Benfica, Dynamo Kiev or possibly even Ajax not winning their qualifiers before the play-off round if they want to be seeded. City’s one way of avoiding such a scenario is by finishing third ahead of Arsenal, and going straight into the group stage. Arsenal are currently two points ahead of them. If Arsenal went into the play-off round, their ranking would ensure that they were seeded.

Tevez winning Wembley race

Carlos Tevez’s display in training yesterday suggested that he may well be fit to play for Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Stoke. Tevez, who Mancini suggested on Tuesday would not be ready for the final, played well and scored twice. MORE

Weening triumphs in fifth Giro stage

The Netherlands’ Pieter Weening won stage five of the Giro d’Italia yesterday and moved to the top of the general classification. The Rabobank rider takes over the pink jersey from David Millar after the 191km ride from Piombino to Orvieto. MORE