The Sports Matrix: Thursday 16 February 2012


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The Independent Online

Robinho and Ibrahimovic lead rout of Arsenal

Arsenal's Champions League hopes looked shattered for another year last night, as they lost 4-0 in the last-16 first leg in Milan. Robinho scored two, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng the others in a big defeat of a poor Arsenal side.

Boateng put Milan ahead with a powerful volley after 15 minutes. Ibrahimovic, comfortably the best player on the pitch, set up the second goal seven minutes before the break, darting down the left channel and crossing to Robinho.

Arsène Wenger brought on Thierry Henry for his final 45 minutes at Arsenal but Milan continued to dominate. Robinho shot into the bottom corner for the third. Ibrahimovic's performance was rewarded when he scored a late penatly. MORE

Centurion Cook finds perfect recipe

Captain Alastair Cook scored his second consecutive international century to lead England to a 20-run victory over Pakistan in the second one-day international in Abu Dhabi. Cook's 102 helped the visitors take a 2-0 lead in the four-game series. MORE

Lancaster remains tight-lipped on job

Stuart Lancaster has refused to comment on the England coaching vacancy, despite leading the side to two wins as caretaker. "I won't be commenting further," he said. "Partly for personal reasons and partly to protect the integrity of the process." MORE

Mancini: I treated Tevez too well

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has refuted claims by Carlos Tevez that he treated the striker badly. "I totally disagree with what Carlos says," Mancini said of the Argentine striker. "Maybe it was the opposite and I have treated him too well." MORE

Ferguson tips Giggs as successor

Sir Alex Ferguson has privately endorsed the veteran midfielder as his potential successor as Manchester United manager when the 70-year-old decides to depart. The Welshman has spent 20 years at the club, making just under 900 appearances. MORE

Toovey relishing coaching challenge

Geoff Toovey says he is enjoying his new role as Manly coach ahead of tomorrow's World Club Challenge match at Leeds. "There's a good core of experienced players at the club who have made the transition a lot easier than it could have been," he said. MORE

Ben hopes to make Swift progress

Ben Swift says he is determined to win a place in the Great Britain team for the Olympics despite being left out of the pursuit squad for the Track World Cup. "I'm full gas for the team pursuit," he said. "That's the only thing that's on my radar. It's my main focus."

Pulis: Stoke relish the underdog tag

Tony Pulis believes his Stoke City side can benefit from their role as underdogs as they prepare to host Valencia in the Europa League tonight. "I'm excited," he said. "[Our] supporters have been fantastic and they're at their best when we're underdogs." MORE

Villas-Boas praised by former assistant

The under-pressure Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has received the backing of his former assistant at Porto, Vitor Pereira. "Andre is a quality coach," Pereira said. "[He] will certainly, in time, prove his quality and competence." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The plan for Thierry Henry was a romantic Last Hurrah before he returns to the obscurity of America's MLS, but the effect was forlorn as Milan drew huge dividends for their faith in their sometimes enigmatic superstars. MORE