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The Sports Matrix: Thursday 19 May 2011

Porto edge out rivals to win final

Porto won the Europa League last night with a 1-0 win over Portuguese rivals Braga in Dublin. Falcao scored the only goal, a header just before half-time. Porto coach Andre Villas-Boas is the youngest ever to win a Uefa competition at just 33. MORE

Bopara set to play ahead of Morgan

The England selectors met yesterday to discuss their squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka at Cardiff and Ravi Bopara looks likely to be chosen to bat at No 6 ahead of Eoin Morgan, who has played just one first-class match since last summer. MORE

Watson closing on British No 1 spot

Heather Watson, who won her opening match in qualifying for the French Open yesterday, could be the British No 1 within weeks. Already No 119, Watson, who is 19 today, is hoping to make her French Open debut. MORE

Tevez no closer to committing to City

Carlos Tevez is no nearer to committing his future to Manchester City, despite the optimism of his manager Roberto Mancini this week. Tevez is in fact no closer to resolving uncertainties over his future and there has been no contact from the club. MORE

DeGale and Groves have tense history

James DeGale and George Groves, who fight on Saturday, started in the same gym but are not close. “I never really liked him and he never really liked me,” said DeGale of their youth. They last fought at Brent Town Hall in 2007, and Groves won.

Cardiff to decide on Jones next week

Dave Jones’ future as Cardiff City manager will be discussed at a board meeting early next week. Jones’ job is on the line after Cardiff lost in the Championship play-offs for the second successive season, going down 3-0 to Reading on Tuesday night. MORE

Tuilagi banned by RFU for five weeks

Manu Tuilagi received a five-week ban from the RFU yesterday for his punch on Chris Ashton. The minimum 10-week sanction was halved because of provocation from Ashton. Tuilagi will be able to push for a place in England’s World Cup squad. MORE

Beckham can play in Neville match

David Beckham will be given permission to skip Los Angeles Galaxy’s Major League Soccer game against Houston Dynamo next Wednesday in order to play in his friend Gary Neville’s testimonial against Juventus the day before at Old Trafford. MORE

Worcester up after beating Pirates

Worcester beat Cornish Pirates 25-20 at Sixways last night in the Championship final second leg, giving them a 46-32 aggregate victory. This confirmed Worcester’s promotion to the Premiership, and Leeds are now relegated from the top flight. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Paul Scholes soon has to ask himself the hardest question for a sportsman: when does the great performer say that it is time to go, that he can no longer muster much more than the faint echo of a thunderous past? MORE

Holloway: League wants us relegated

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway angrily responded yesterday to suggestions Sir Alex Ferguson might field a weakened Manchester United team on Sunday against his side and be punished for it. “They [the Premier League] will be relieved if we lose and get relegated,” Holloway said. “Then I [will not be] badgering them. I am so annoyed. Sir Alex Ferguson is a winner. That man deserves to pick whatever team he wants to pick. No one should question it. Look at his record. Those people running the game, what planet are they on? They must have beamed down from Planet Zarf.” MORE

Arsenal likely to have hard summer

Arsenal face the possibility of playing in the Champions League playoff round in August after losing control of third place. This would possibly mean having to play Udinese at the end of a summer in which a squad clear-out and new recruitment is likely. MORE



McIlroy positive about Masters

Rory McIlroy said he often thinks about his collapse at the Masters, but is staying positive about his game. “It’s in the past,” he said. “I’m very happy where my golf is at the moment and looking forward to the stretch coming up, starting here.” MORE

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