The Sports Matrix: Thursday 8 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Stevenage battle but Defoe inspires Spurs victory

Tottenham Hotspur last night reached the sixth round of the FA Cup after coming from behind to beat Stevenage 3-1 in a fifth-round replay at White Hart Lane. However, Spurs could be without Michael Dawson for some time – the defender was carried off after nine minutes with suspected ruptured ankle ligaments. Aaron Lennon also went off with an injury before the end of the first half. To the shock of the crowd, Stevenage, of League One, took the lead from the penalty spot four minutes into the match, after Ryan Nelsen brought down Joel Byrom. Byrom sent Carlo Cudicini the wrong way. Jermain Defoe equalised with the first of two superbly taken goals, either side of an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty. It was a gallant effort by Stevenage, who forced Cudicini in to action in as they applied some pressure in the second half. For the report CLICK HERE

Wenger hit with conduct charge

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was yesterday charged with "improper conduct" by Uefa for comments he made about referee Damir Skomina after Tuesday's Champions League exit. Wenger has already had two Uefa touchline bans in the last year. MORE

Messi revels in five-star display

Lionel Messi became the first player to score five goals in one Champions League game last night as Barcelona, the holders, thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 (and 10-2 on aggregate) at the Nou Camp to reach the last eight of the competition.

De Gea believes his errors are over

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who faces his countrymen tonight as Athletic Bilbao visit Old Trafford in the Europa League, believes he is in good form, and the criticism he has received has made him work harder and improve. MORE

West Ham blow chance to go top

West Ham missed the chance to leapfrog Southampton and return to the top of the Championship after drawing 1-1 with Watford at Upton Park. Sean Murray put Watford ahead before Ricardo Vaz Te's 87th-minute strike salvaged a point for the Hammers. MORE

Rangers may not finish SPL season

In a statement released yesterday, Rangers' administrator Duff & Phelps warned that if the club doesn't reduce its outgoings or receive additional funding it "will not be able to fulfil its fixtures throughout the remainder of the season". MORE

O'Connor anger at England selection

The Leicester head coach, Matt O'Connor, has reacted sharply to the news that Toby Flood would play no part in Sunday's Six Nations match with France. "England don't want creative players, they are just trying not to lose," O'Connor said. MORE

Gandy sweet for Olympic double

Ellen Gandy secured her second place in the British swimming squad for the Olympics with victory in the 200m butterfly final at the British Swimming Championships last night. The 20-year-old had also won in the 100m butterfly on Sunday. MORE

Wiggins retains Paris-Nice lead

Bradley Wiggins retained his overall lead in the Paris-Nice race yesterday after finishing 10th on the fourth stage, which Gianni Meersman won after timing his final sprint perfectly. Wiggins leads American Levi Leipheimer by six seconds. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If Arsène Wenger had gone, it is reasonable to believe that his successor would have been allowed to have his own ideas about how to make a team. Chelsea predictably award Roberto di Matteo all the working gravitas of a puppet. MORE