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The Sports Matrix: Thursday 20 December 2012
Five-star Chelsea fight back to coast into semi-finals
Chelsea recovered from a goal down to ease into the last four with a 5-1 victory at Leeds United last night. In their first match since their return from the Club World Cup in Japan, Chelsea went behind against the run of play through Luciano Becchio, above. Juan Mata's tame shot equalised straight after the break, before Branislav Ivanovic and Victor Moses scored twice within three minutes just after the hour. Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres added some gloss to the scoreline in the final 10 minutes.
"We only got back from Japan on Monday so maybe there was not enough time to rest but we showed the desire to win," Mata said. "The first 30 minutes were so difficult, because [Leeds] are a physical side." MORE
British clubs set to discover fate
Arsenal, Celtic and Manchester United will this morning discover their opponents in the last 16 of the Champions League. Arsenal could draw Barcelona for a third season in four, while United have nine-time winners Real Madrid as possible opponents. MORE
Balotelli drops City case to save career
Mario Balotelli has backed down from his move to challenge a £340,000 club fine at a Premier League tribunal, in a final attempt to salvage his career at Manchester City. The 22-year-old is determined to repair his relationship with manager Roberto Mancini. MORE
Sturridge move stalls over wages
Liverpool's move for Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is in danger of falling through with the player's representatives making demands the club are unwilling to meet. A £12m fee has been agreed but discussions over a sell-on fee are stalling any potential deal. MORE
Houghton happy with 'surreal' year
Steph Houghton says she does not want 2012 to end after enjoying a fine year. "I'm running out of superlatives for 2012," Houghton, who impressed for Great Britain at the Olympics this summer, said. "It is surreal. I don't think I've kept a smile off my face all year." MORE
Grass-court season set to lengthen
Wimbledon's decision to start a week later from 2015 has resulted in several clay-court tournaments around Europe seeking to convert to grass. Men's competitions in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Gstaad have shown interest in filling the gap. MORE
London chosen for 2017 world games
London has been awarded the 2017 Paralympic athletics world championships, giving the city the chance to recreate the magic of the 2012 Games. The event will be held before the Olympic Stadium hosts the IAAF world athletics championships. MORE
Morgan seeks to make T20 mark
Stand-in England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan hopes to use today's T20 match against India to push for a Test recall. "I'll do things that are going to put me in the right direction," he said. "And hope they move me up the pecking order." page 47
Gillespie praises Root for Test debut
Jason Gillespie has praised Joe Root for his impressive start to Test cricket. "He took the opportunity with both hands, which is the mark of a really good player," the Yorkshire coach said of his county player. "He has a good head on his shoulders." MORE
Former WBA player charged
Former West Bromwich Albion defender Neil Clement and Flat jockey Eddie Ahern were among six people charged with corruption by the British Horseracing Authority. A hearing has been scheduled for April. MORE
Trevor Hicks might be given a knighthood, not for his celebrity or a career in politics or the civil service, but for standing up, year after year, for the innocent, the abused and his idea of an implacable truth. MORE
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help