The Sports Matrix: Thursday 4 October 2012


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Balotelli earns point for City as Arsenal press on

Mario Balotelli scored an injury-time penalty to earn Manchester City their first point of this season's competition as they salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Dortmund last night. The German side dominated throughout and only an inspired showing from the City goalkeeper Joe Hart kept the visitor's lead to a single goal after Marco Reus took advantage of a sloppy pass from Jack Rodwell, above. Neven Subotic's handball gave Balotelli the chance to level from the spot. Arsenal had no problems in Group B, easing past Greek side Olympiakos 3-1. Gervinho's goal was quickly equalised by Kostas Mitroglou before the break, only for Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey to secure the points for Arsène Wenger's side. MORE

Coutts rescues late point for Rams

Paul Coutts's close-range equaliser earned Derby a point in a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough. Theo Robinson had given Derby the lead before two goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz put the hosts ahead. Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest held Blackburn to a goalless draw at the City Ground. MORE

Barnes urges fans to let Sterling play

John Barnes has called on Liverpool supporters not to heap pressure on Raheem Sterling. "He's got great potential," the former Reds midfielder said. "[But] I would urge fans to leave him alone and let him play. I am worried about fans putting him under pressure." MORE

Hodgson casts net wide for defenders

England manager Roy Hodgson could include new faces in his squad today for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. Tottenham's Michael Dawson and Ryan Shawcross of Stoke are in contention, with Rio Ferdinand unlikely to be called upon. MORE

Waddle puzzled by appeal of Barton

Former Marseilles midfielder Chris Waddle is puzzled by the French club's decision to buy Joey Barton. "I can't understand," Waddle said. "Unless someone's built him into being Zinedine Zidane, I don't know how he got that move. He'll do well to get in the team." MORE

Murray speeds into the last eight

Andy Murray dispatched Slovakia's Lukas Lacko inside an hour to reach the quarter-finals of the Japan Open. The US Open champion needed just 57 minutes, coasting home 6-1 6-2 to secure a match with Stanislas Wawrinka. MORE

Miss, and I'd look an idiot – Kaymer

Martin Kaymer admits he was a mightily relieved man when he holed the putt that kept the Ryder Cup in Europe last weekend. "It was such a fine line between being the hero and the biggest idiot," he said. "Fortunately it went the right way." MORE

Apology sets up Pietersen return

Kevin Pietersen could return to the England set-up in time for next month's tour of India after apologising yesterday for his behaviour. The batsman will hold talks with management and his former team-mates over the next few weeks. MORE

Wilkinson seeking encore with Lions

Jonny Wilkinson has insisted he has not given up hope of being selected for the Lions tour of Australia. "I couldn't say 'no'," the Toulon fly-half said. "To go back to Australia, where we played that great series against the Wallabies in '01..." MORE

Coolmore put up Dettori on Camelot

Frankie Dettori will ride in his 25th straight Arc on Sunday – on Camelot, the dual Derby winner owned by Coolmore, fierce rivals to the Godolphin operation who have long been the Italian's main employers. MORE

Stephen Brenkley

They read their statements. Giles Clarke first - if he had not been practising, he is a natural. Kevin Pietersen had not a chance next to this. He read the statement, but it was desultory by comparison. MORE