The Sports Matrix: Thursday 7 April 2011

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The Independent Online

Lennon accuses Redknapp of lying

Aaron Lennon has said Harry Redknapp was trying to make him the scapegoat for the club’s defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday. The winger accused his manager of lying when Redknapp said that Lennon had fallen ill just minutes before the game. MORE

McIlroy has belief for first major win

Despite missing the cut last year, and finishing tied 20th on his Masters debut in 2009, Rory McIlroy enters the tournament in confident mood of winning his first major. “I feel I am at the stage where I can compete and win the big tournaments,” he said. MORE

Woods ‘dependent on others’ now

Colin Montgomerie believes Tiger Woods is part of the chasing pack at the Masters, which begins today. “I can see him finishing top five, but not winning,” he said. “Whether he wins or not is now dependent on others.” MORE

Barton: I’m the best English midfielder

Joey Barton believes he should be recalled to the national team by Fabio Capello as he is the best midfielder England have. He was very critical of Gareth Barry, putting his career down to having “a very good agent”, and comparing him to a teacher’s pet. MORE

Murray fills in with team of coaches

British No 1 Andy Murray will work with a team of coaches from his sponsors Adidas as he continues to look for a permanent coach following his parting of ways with Alex Corretja last week. He admitted he may not hire a new coach until the summer. MORE

Agger out for the rest of the season

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger will miss the rest of the campaign with a knee problem. The Denmark international was injured at West Bromwich last weekend. Right-backs Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly will miss at least the next three to four weeks. MORE

Cueto to undergo gouging tribunal

Sale’s Mark Cueto could miss England’s three World Cup warm up games in August if he is found guilty of eye gouging at a RFU disciplinary tribunal next Monday. He could be banned for months for an incident with Northampton lock Christian Day. MORE

Hooper’s goals put Celtic back on top

Celtic overtook Rangers to return to first place with a 3-1 home win over Hibernian last night. Anthony Stokes put them ahead early on, and Gary Hooper added two more, the first from the spot, before the break. Liam Miller, once of Celtic, scored for Hibs.

Helleborine goes on trial for Guineas

Helleborine returns today in the Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte. The filly is 8-1 to win the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on 1 May, and she would be the fifth success in the race for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek should she do so. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Michael Carrick put in a performance of genuine stature last night. He retrieved the best of himself, when he opened up the possibilities with a sweeping cross ball to the feet of Ryan Giggs which led to Rooney’s first-half goal. MORE

Rooney gives United crucial lead

Manchester United established a vital lead in the first leg of their quarter-final against Chelsea, winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last night. United were the more imaginative side andWayne Rooney’s first half goal was well-worked, although Chelsea could have had a stoppage-time penalty. United started the brighter of the two sides, and as with the recent Premier League game between the sides at the ground, they took a first-half lead through Rooney. Michael Carrick, who was excellent in midfield, clipped a perfect cross-field pass to Ryan Giggs, who cushioned the ball neatly at the by-line. He crossed for Rooney who shot past Petr Cech and in off the post. Fernando Torres had the best Chelsea chances, but could not score. Ramires, though, could have won a late penalty when he was clumsily tackled by Patrice Evra in stoppage time. MORE

Barça hand out Shakhtar thrashing

Barcelona took a major step towards the semi-finals with a 5-1 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk. Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi scored for the Spanish side, while Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored Shakhtar’s away goal. MORE

Yorkshire proud of home-grown team

Yorkshire’s team for the new county season, which starts tomorrow, will be entirely made of players bred in the local area. Coach Martyn Moxon is a believer in “producing your own players” and giving academy players first team opportunities. MORE