The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 4 December 2012


Newcastle back to winning ways after Figueroa sees red

Newcastle United ended a run of four straight league defeats with a 3-0 home win against 10-man Wigan Athletic last night.

Demba Ba scored twice, his first a penalty after Maynor Figueroa brought down Papiss Cissé and was sent off in the 12th minute. Ba doubled his tally soon after, pouncing on a rebound. Gael Bigirimana then scored his first goal in professional football with a powerful drive in the 71st minute. MORE

Lancaster admits draw is ‘difficult’

The hosts England will face Australia and Wales in Pool A at the Rugby World Cup in 2015. The England coach, Stuart Lancaster, conceded it was a “difficult draw”. Scotland are in Pool B with South Africa and Samoa. Ireland are in Pool C with France and Italy. MORE

Arsenal are not in crisis, says Wenger

Arsène Wenger last night insisted Arsenal are not a club in crisis and claimed he is not affected by speculation over his future. "We lost one game in the last seven," he said. "I only have one pressure and that is to win the next game." The club travel to Olympiakos tonight. MORE

Mancini: We will fight for Europa

The Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, insists his team will fight for a place in the Europa League, which will be possible if they defeat Borussia Dortmund tonight, and if Ajax fail to win at Real Madrid. "We must try to play in the Europa League," he said. MORE

Messi in praise of Celtic supporters

Barcelona's Leo Messi has said Celtic, who defeated his side last month, deserve to progress in the Champions League. "We have not always been supportive of the way they play football," he said. "However, their fans deserve the knockout stages of the Champions League."

Ponting's career ends with defeat

Ricky Ponting was out for just eight in his final innings for Australia yesterday, in their 309-run defeat by South Africa, which wrapped up a 1-0 series win for the Proteas. Only Sachin Tendulkar (15,562) has scored more Test runs than Ponting (13,378).

Finn and Bell back for vital third Test

It is probable England will make two changes to a winning side for the third Test in India. Stuart Broad looks likely to be dropped for Steve Finn and Ian Bell is set to replace Jonny Bairstow, following a break at home after the birth of his child. MORE

Dettori braced for a six-month ban

Frankie Dettori faces a six-month worldwide ban when the stewards of France Galop meet in Paris today. The Italian, who turns 42 on Saturday week, tested positive for a prohibited substance at Longchamp on 16 September. MORE

Gardner in rallying cry to Sunderland

The Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner has issued a rallying cry to his team-mates to save their season from developing into another relegation fight. "We need to stand up and be counted and take our chances," Gardner said. MORE

Robertson sets up Hawkins match

Neil Robertson earned a second-round match with Barry Hawkins by thrashing Tom Ford 6-1 at the UK Championship in York. Mark King also went through by defeating Mark Williams 6-3 last night.

James Lawton

Any suggestion that Avram Grant might now be reimmersed in the Chelsea stew sounds ultimately weird only if you detach it from the club's behaviour over recent weeks. MORE