The Sports Matrix: Thursday 27 January 2011

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Gardner puts City on Wembley trail

A strike from Craig Gardner four minutes into extra time helped Birmingham reach their first League Cup final for 10 years with a 3-1 win over West Ham and a 4-3 aggregate victory. The Midlands side will now play Arsenal in the final at Wembley on 27 February. Carlton Cole (above) had extended the visitors' 2-1 lead from the first leg after half an hour, curling in from outside the area. Lee Bowyer levelled the tie on the night after an hour with a drilled effort from the corner of the penalty area, before Roger Johnson brought the aggregate scores level at 3-3 with 11 minutes left, thumping home a header from a Bowyer corner. Gardner was then given the freedom of the West Ham half to surge forward and book City's Wembley date. MORE

Liverpool seventh after scrappy win

An own goal from John Pantsil early in the second half was enough to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Anfield last night and move the Reds up to seventh. Fernando Torres also had an effort harshly disallowed in a scrappy affair. MORE

Trott ton keeps ODI series alive

Jonathan Trott hit a determined century to guide England to their first win of the one-day series in Adelaide, beating Australia by 21 runs. The victory means the tourists now trail Michael Clarke's side 3-1 with three games remaining. MORE

Murray marches on as Nadal limps out

Andy Murray made the last four of the Australian Open for the second consecutive year as the No 1 seed, Rafael Nadal, was knocked out by David Ferrer. Murray faces Ferrer in tomorrow's second semi-final. MORE

Celtic stay top with victory over Hearts

Celtic maintained their five-point lead at the top of the SPL, easing past third-placed Hearts 4-0 with two goals from Anthony Stokes. Rangers remain second, with two games in hand on their city rivals, after two first-half goals gave them a 2-0 win at Hibernian.

Woods starts year looking for victory

Former World No 1 Tiger Woods begins his 2011 campaign at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines today seeking to continue his fine record at the venue. Woods has won at the San Diego course the last five times he has played there. MORE

Keys steps down over sexism furore

The Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has resigned following the uproar over sexist comments made by him and Andy Gray. "I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offence they have caused," he said. Gray resigned on Tuesday. MORE

Scottish racer wins Force India spot

Paul di Resta has been selected as Force India's new driver for the 2011 season, replacing Vitantonio Liuzzi. The 24-year-old Scot joins team-mate Adrian Sutil on the grid, and will face childhood rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. MORE

Johnson hits back in row over Hartley

England coach Martin Johnson has backed Dylan Hartley to shine in next week's Six Nations opener against Wales despite recent criticism from Wales manager Warren Gatland. "He's played fantastically well for his club this season," Johnson said. MORE

James Lawton

If Gray and Keys could be so candid and crass in the studio about their dismissive attitudes to a woman in football, what trust could be placed in their reactions to some of the bigger issues in the game they covered? MORE

Chelsea given Luiz permit despite row

Chelsea were yesterday granted a work permit for Brazilian defender David Luiz, despite the player's club, Benfica, claiming the £25.6m transfer could be called off. The Portuguese club claim Chelsea have reneged on various financial agreements. MORE

Contador handed year's suspension

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has been suspended for a year over his failed doping test in last year's race, El Pais reported last night. The 28-year-old, who has 10 days to appeal, claims the failed test was due to contaminated meat. MORE

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