The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 17 April 2012


Alves says 'fear' cost Chelsea 2009 Euro final spot

Fear cost Chelsea their place in the 2009 Champions League final, not the Norwegian referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, according to Barcelona's Dani Alves. With tomorrow's semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge offering Chelsea a chance to get even with the Catalans for the events of three years ago, when they felt they were denied four clear penalties, Alves told i: "There's no doubt that was the hardest game we've played, but a team with a one-man advantage playing at home and winning should have attacked us more. "People say Chelsea could have won but for the referee, but that is not our problem. We were there to play football, to compete and try to get to the final. Chelsea did not reach the final because of fear." The idea that fortune favours only the brave against Barça was echoed by Andres Iniesta last night. The player who broke Chelsea hearts with his injury-time decider said: "There were decisions that went against us as well. We went for the game and we kept creating chances. I don't think the refereeing decisions that night are worth going over again." MORE

Wigan pull off Emirates shock

Wigan moved five points clear of the relegation places after they beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium last night. Goals from the forwards Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez gave Wigan a surprise 2-0 lead after just eight minutes. MORE

Van Persie leads PFA shortlist

The Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, who failed to add to his season's tally of 34 goals last night, will be the favourite for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award after being named among the six nominees. The winner will be announced on Sunday. MORE

Parker: Redknapp may lose faith in us

Scott Parker has admitted that Tottenham will have "failed" if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League, and suggested that their manager, Harry Redknapp, might have lost some faith in the players because their recent poor form. MORE

Real will go for it, says Mourinho

Real Madrid visit Bayern Munich tonight in the Champions League semi-final first leg, with Real coach Jose Mourinho saying his team have "nothing to lose". The Spaniards must find a way to counter winger Arjen Robben, who played for Mourinho at Chelsea. MORE

Featherstone draw Cup holders Wigan

Featherstone Rovers' reward for knocking out Castleford in the fourth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup is a tough home tie against the holders, Wigan Warriors. "Being at home, it's a fantastic draw for us," said Daryl Powell, the Rovers coach. MORE

Nadal 'scared' about knee injury

Rafael Nadal yesterday admitted to being "a little bit scared" by the effect his recurring knee problem may have on his game. The 25-year-old plays his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters tomorrow, looking to win it for the eighth year running. MORE

Armitage to join brothers at Toulon

As expected, the England full-back Delon Armitage will leave London Irish to join his brothers, Steffon and Guy, at Toulon next season. "I feel it's the right time for me to move on at this stage in my rugby career," the 28-year-old said yesterday.

Heavyweights kept apart by TV

"David Price is convinced Tyson Fury is running scared of losing his unbeaten record, which is now considered more important than being a good fighter. The simple truth is that their allegiances to TV backers are keeping them apart." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

One of the more profitable ways of measuring the progress of Cristiano Ronaldo is contained within the Munich stadium, where tonight he will again seek a place in the same breath that speaks the name of Lionel Messi. MORE