The Sports Matrix: Thursday 5 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Grant unlikely to see in next season

West Ham manager Avram Grant is likely to be sacked in the summer even if he avoids a second top-flight relegation. Martin O’Neill, who nearly took the job in January, has been mentioned as a replacement, as have Paul Lambert and Neil Warnock. MORE

Super Caley dent Celtic’s title hopes

Celtic’s SPL title chances were hit last night with a 3-2 defeat at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A Charlie Mulgrew own goal was followed by Grant Munro and Shane Sutherland strikes. Kris Commons scored twice for Celtic, who are a point behind Rangers. MORE

Murray overcomes Simon in Madrid

Andy Murray beat Gilles Simon 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 yesterday in the Madrid Masters to earn a third round meeting today with Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci. It was Murray’s first appearance for three weeks following injury. MORE

Play-offs can save Wrexham’s future

Wrexham have a Conference play-off semi-final with Luton Town tonight, and promotion may be required for much-needed investment. A £50,000 loan from a Welsh Assembly member was needed after a £200,000 tax bill recently came to light. MORE

Powell leaves Wasps after fight

Andy Powell has left Wasps by mutual consent. The club’s board members viewed CCTV footage of the Wales No 8 fighting in a Shepherd’s Bush bar and read statements from those who witnessed the incident, which took place on 18 April. MORE

Ecclestone: rights are not for sale

Bernie Ecclestone has insisted the sport’s commercial rights are not for sale. “I know they don’t want to sell, so it’s going to be a bit difficult,” he said of equity firm CVC, which holds the rights. “I can see CVC in for the long haul.” MORE

Mourinho lines up signing of Sahin

Jose Mourinho was last night trying to get over Real Madrid’s Champions League exit by signing the highly-rated Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin from Borussia Dortmund. The 22-year-old midfielder is expected to move to Real in the close season. MORE

Rankin’s blast pins back Lancashire

Lancashire collapsed from 219 for 5 to 227 all out yesterday against an Ian Bell-led Warwickshire. Chris Woakes took his tally of wickets for the season to 20 and Boyd Rankin, ended a terrific spell with three wickets in five balls for figures of 5 for 57. MORE

Abidal fit enough for 20 minutes

Eric Abidal’s return for Barcelona soon after he had a tumour removed was a highlight of Tuesday’s second leg. “He is ready to help,” said Pep Guardiola. “He has lost a lot of weight but he is very, very strong and fit enough to play 15 or 20 minutes.” MORE

Root puts Yorks on top at Trent Bridge

Yorkshire closed on 291 for 3 on a rare day of dominance for bat over ball against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, thanks in part to a promising unbeaten innings of 89 from 20 year-old Joe Root, whose career has been closely monitored by Michael Vaughan. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Just as Roy Keane played to his limits despite knowing he would not make the 1999 European Cup final, the same could be said – in rather different circumstances – of young men like Chris Smalling or Jonny Evans. MORE

United through to final after win

Manchester United moved into their third Champions League final in four years after a 4-1 second leg win over Schalke at Old Trafford last night. Having won 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen last week United were always favourites to meet Barcelona at Wembley on 28 May but they produced an impressive performance despite resting some of their main players. Antonio Valencia put United ahead after 26 minutes, after a perfectly-judged through pass from Darron Gibson, who started in central midfield. Five minutes later Gibson himself scored, firing powerfully at Manuel Neuer who surprisingly turned the ball into his own net. Jose Manuel Jurado pulled one back for Schalke but even then they needed three goals to reach the final. The tie was killed off in the second half with two goals within five minutes for Anderson. The first came on the turn, the second from a Dimitar Berbatov pass. MORE

Overturn is latest McCain success

Overturn won the Chester Cup yesterday for Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain. “With this horse, you don’t need to think about breathers,” said a proud McCain. “He just gallops. You just jump off, loose off and keep him going.” MORE

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