The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 26 April 2011

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The Independent Online

Dzeko moves City closer to Eurospot

Manchester City strengthened their grip on fourth place last night with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers. The game was goalless, with Blackburn the better side, with 15 minutes left before substitute Edin Dzeko scored from close range. MORE

Henson’s Toulon fate to be revealed

Gavin Henson’s future with Toulon looks set to be made clear today, following a series of events including a brawl in a Hyères bar. “He has been difficult to manage,” said Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellalwho met with the Welsh back yesterday. MORE

Donald hopes to catch Westwood

Luke Donald is eyeing Lee Westwood’s number one World Ranking as he heads to the New Orleans Classic this week. “If I keep to what I’m doing the victories will come and, hopefully, so will that No 1 ranking.” MORE

Arsenal profit in trophy drought

The likely end of another Arsenal season without a trophy suggests a contrast between Arsène Wenger’s reign either side of the 2003-04 Invincibles season. Since then he has made a remarkable £10.8m profit on transfers but won only the 2005 FA Cup. MORE

Saints return to top with late victory

St Helens went to the top of Super League yesterday with a 22-20 win over Castleford. They relied on a nerveless conversion from 20-year-old Jamie Foster nine seconds from time. This followed late tries from Saints’ Ade Gardner and then Francis Meli. MORE

United prepare for latest German test

Manchester United play Schalke tonight in the first leg of the semi-final. They are keen to improve on their record against German sides: in 2002 United were eliminated by Bayer Leverkusen at this stage on away goals, last year they lost to Bayern Munich. MORE

Dutch claim new county victim

The Netherlands beat their second county in two days with a 13- run victory over Derbyshire yesterday in the Clydesdale Bank Pro40. Holland reached 204 for 4, thanks to 74 from Wesley Barresi, while Derbyshire could only reach 191 for 9 in their overs.

Schalke ‘excited’ by semi-final tie

Schalke’s coach Ralf Rangnick believes that their lack of experience will improve the tie for them: “There is a difference [between the sides] and it is maybe one that makes it more exciting for our team. We have to show what we can achieve with passion.” MORE

Todd trots towards London 2012

Mark Todd has taken a big step towards qualifying for London 2012 after clinching the Badminton Horse Trials title, 31 years after his first win in 1980. Todd has previously had Olympic success in winning back-to-back gold medals in 1984 and 1988.

Opinion: James Lawton

If Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to inspire his Manchester United players ahead of tonight’s match with Schalke, he need only have ordered up some copies of Sunday night’s brilliant BBC dramatisation of the Munich tragedy. MORE

QPR left on the brink of promotion

Queens Park Rangers were still short of guaranteed promotion to the Premier League last night, thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Norwich City. The Loftus Road crowd had invaded the pitch at the end of their 1-1 draw with Hull City thinking it was secure, but Norwich City beat Derby County 3-2 thanks to an injury-time winner from Simeon Jackson. This means that an unlikely combination of results could still deny QPR automatic promotion, although that would require two heavy defeats in their remaining games at Watford and at home against Leeds. The league leaders went ahead yesterday through Wayne Routledge, the winger racing forwards from Adel Taarabt’s pass and finishing past goalkeeper Matt Duke. But nine minutes from the end David Amoo volleyed Hull level, postponing Rangers’ celebrations for another week at least. MORE

Ferguson ‘envious’ of European giants

Sir Alex Ferguson last night admitted he is jealous of the records of United’s European rivals. “We do get envious of the records of other clubs in Europe,” he said. “We look at other teams’ records and we are trying to get parity with that.” MORE

Nina Carberry wins the Irish National

Nina Carberry has a good chance of becoming the first woman to win the Grand National. Her success in yesterday’s Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion reiterates her status as the woman closest to achieving equality with the men. MORE

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