The Sports Matrix: Thursday 4 August 2011

Manchester fine by me, says Cantona

Eric Cantona,whose NY Cosmos play at Old Trafford tomorrow, says he had no problems with the city of Manchester, unlike City’s Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. “The most important thing was to play for the best club in the world,” theUnited legend said. MORE

Restless McIlroy favours US return

Rory McIlroy has admitted he is “leaning toward” a return to the PGA Tour. “I feel I play my best golf over here,” he said in Ohio ahead of the Bridgestone Invitational. “I’m very comfortable in this country. I’m definitely looking towards coming back.” MORE

Payne to take heart from home support

Swimmer Keri-Anne Payne feels she will be able to use home support as motivation at next year’s Olympics. “You have to be wise as to how you use that pressure,” she said. “I’m going to be using it as a confidence boost.” MORE

Fabregas resigned to Benfica run-out

Arsenal’s fit-again Cesc Fabregas has accepted that he will have to play in Saturday’s friendly at Benfica if selected. The Spaniard’s move to Barcelona shows little sign of resolution, with the clubs remaining £5m apart in their valuations of the 24-year-old. MORE

Home nations face World Cup run-in

As the home nations begin a tough month of build-up and preparation for next month’s World Cup in New Zealand, i Rugby Union correspondent Chris Hewett assesses the prospects of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. MORE

Dalglish talks up Liverpool title bid

Kenny Dalglish believes his Liverpool squad have the quality to challenge for the Premier League title. “Spending money does not guarantee success,” he said. “[But] I don’t know of any club that has had success [and] not spent money. So it is necessary.” MORE

Champions gather for the richest race

The £1.3m Qipco Champion Stakes, which will be the richest race ever in Britain when it is run at Ascot in October, attracted 40 entries yesterday, including three of the world’s top middle-distance performers in So You Think, Nathaniel and Pour Moi. MORE

Nine-man Rangers stunned by Malmo

Rangers were knocked out of the Champions League last night after drawing 1-1 at Malmo in the third qualifying round, losing 2-1 on aggregate. Ally McCoist’s side ended with nine men, after Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were both dismissed. MORE

Clarke grabs share of catching record

Warwickshire’s Rikki Clarke equalled the world record for catches made by an outfielder in a single innings, holding on to seven in Lancashire’s second innings at Liverpool. Clarke also became one of only two outfielders to hold nine in a first-class match. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Would someone of lesser ability, someone who had not threatened to run elsewhere if her appeal failed, have received such tolerance as Christine Ohuruogu? We don’t have to guess hard at how Dwain Chambers answers. MORE

Porter proud to represent Britain

Tiffany Porter has dismissed claims that she switched allegiance to Great Britain for financial gain. “Anybody who knows me knows those things are far from the truth,” the American-born hurdler said. “I’ve had dual citizenship since birth.” MORE

Harbhajanand Yuvraj out of series

India’s hopes of recovering a 2-0 deficit in the Test series with England have taken a blow with Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh missing the remainder of the series through injury. Harbhajan has a stomach strain while Yuvraj has broken a finger. MORE