The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 16 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Newcastle win well at St Andrews

Goals from Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best gave Newcastle an important win at Birmingham City. Lovenkrands gave the visitors the lead after two minutes, turning in Jonas Gutierrez’s cross, while Best’s goal was a header from the same provider. MORE

Elworthy opens up about famous tie

Steve Elworthy, who played for South Africa against Australia in the famous 1999 semi-final at Edgbaston, where a tie allowed Australia to progress to the final, describes the game in i, calling it “the most memorable match I ever played in”. MORE

Wallaby Giteau signs Toulon deal

French club Toulon have agreed a deal to sign Australian Matt Giteau on an 18-month deal after the World Cup. He will join a team full of international stars, including Jonny Wilkinson and Felipe Contepomi.

Thompson denies Cardiff home win

Steven Thompson equalised seven minutes from time as Burnley saved a point against Cardiff. The Welsh side, playing at home, took the lead through Michael Chopra late in the first half. Despite Thompson’s equaliser Cardiff are still in second place. MORE

Wasps to miss injured Varndell

Wasps will be without prolific winger Tom Varndell for 12 weeks after the 25-year-old suffered ankle ligament damage during Sunday’s match with Gloucester. “We are really disappointed for Tom” said Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks. MORE

Dzeko misfires as City draw at Aris

Manchester City drew 0-0 in their last-32 first leg tie away at Aris Thessaloniki. Edin Dzeko missed a number of good chances before being substituted and was subsequently criticised by Roberto Mancini. The teams meet again next Thursday. MORE

Ferguson latest to leave Wakefield

Wakefield have lost another player after second-rower Dale Ferguson joined Huddersfield. Like Sam Obst’s transfer, the deal was completed by the club’s administrators. Local businessman Andrew Glover is currently completing his takeover. MORE

Wenger hails ‘best ever’ opposition

Arsène Wenger has admitted that tonight’s opponents Barcelona are “the best club team I’ve ever faced”. He did stress, however, that his side have physically and mentally matured since last year’s defeat: “We are in an ideal condition to face them”. MORE

Israeli Peer back again in Dubai

Twelve months after becoming the first Israeli woman to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, Shahar Peer was back with a win yesterday. The world No 11 reached last year’s semi-finals, 12 months after being barred entry by the UAE government. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

In last year’s Barcelona tie, Cesc Fabregas scored a late penalty; crocked, suspended but not beaten. Has a young player ever occupied such a vital role in the goals of a hugely ambitious but also deeply frustrated club? MORE

Crouch fires Spurs to famous victory

Peter Crouch’s late goal gave Tottenham Hotspur a famous win and a crucial 1-0 lead in their last 16 tie with Milan. Spurs were the better side against their prestigious opponents but the game was 10 minutes away from ending goalless before Aaron Lennon dashed past Mario Yepes and set up Crouch who finished low past Marco Amelia. Spurs dominated the first half, with Lennon repeatedly beating Milan left-back Luca Antonini. But Spurs could not score and, after introducing Alexandre Pato at half-time, Milan improved. Heurelho Gomes had to make some crucial saves although the game risked descending into unpleasantness: Mathieu Flamini injured Vedran Corluka with a bad tackle while Gennaro Gatusso was involved in ugly rows with both Crouch and Joe Jordan. MORE

Barcelona to feel Puyol absence

Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol is out of tonight’s game with Arsenal with injury. He’ll be missed: Barcelona have failed to win nine games this season and in seven of those Puyol has been out, including their 1-1 draw in La Liga with Sporting Gijon at the weekend. MORE

McCoy not tied to Don’t Push It

Tony McCoy will not let sentiment dictate which horse he rides in this year’s Grand National. He won last year on Don’t Push It but will not necessarily choose the same horse this year. “If one of the others was looking better,” he said, “that’s where I’d go.” MORE