The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 16 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Rodriguez rescues point for Burnley

A goal 11 minutes from time by Jay Rodriguez helped Burnley salvage a 2-2 draw with Coventry as they wasted the chance to close the gap on the play-off positions. Eddie Howe’s side remain in seventh place, three points behind Nottingham Forest.

Strauss and Swann suffer from virus

England captain Andrew Strauss and spinner Graeme Swann are both struggling with a stomach virus. England are not panicking yet, but if both miss training today their participation in the crucial match against West Indies tomorrow is unlikely. MORE

England focused on Grand Slam shot

England assistant coach Graham Rowntree is confident that the team can win their first Grand Slam since 2003. He described the current squad as “more ambitious” than the 2003 side, in which he played. MORE

Capello undecided on Terry captaincy

There was confusion yesterday over whether Fabio Capello has yet decided whether to make John Terry full-time England captain again. He is likely to be reinstated for the Wales qualifier but Capello has not resolved the long-term future of the captaincy. MORE

Captain Chris pays off for Hobbs

Trainer Philip Hobbs was vindicated in his deployment of horses yesterday as Captain Chris took the Arkle Trophy. He decided upon leaving Wishfull Thinking to tomorrow’s longer Jewson Chase, rather than taking two shots at the same race. MORE

Torres set to sit out Copenhagen game

Fernando Torres is unlikely to play for Chelsea in this evening’s second-leg match with FC Copenhagen. The £50m purchase from Liverpool is yet to score for his new club after 405 minutes, although he is likely to return to face Manchester City. MORE

Hurricane Fly wins Champion Hurdle

Peddlers Cross was beaten yesterday by Hurricane Fly, bringing his unbeaten record to an end. Hurricane Fly was ridden by Ruby Walsh, who two hours before had stood up in the stirrups as he rode home the first winner, following prolonged injury. MORE

Pandev brings Inter back from the dead

Goran Pandev’s late goal settled a thriller in Munich, sending Inter through at the expense of Bayern Munich. The home side were 3-1 up after Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller had negated Samuel Eto’o’s strike, but Wesley Sneijder and Pandev turned the tie. MORE

Big Zeb aims to retain crown today

A vintage race in today’s Queen Mother Champion Chase is guaranteed if Master Minded and Big Zeb produce their best. The former won in 2008 and 2009, while the latter won the race last year, with Master Minded back in fourth place. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Ruby Walsh was the ultimate master of every nuance of the daunting Cheltenham track yesterday. He came here rehabilitating a broken leg but after three wins, it was as though he was operating on a cushion of air. MORE

Hernandez double sees United through

Two goals from Javier Hernandez were enough to send Manchester United into the quarter-finals after a 2-1 home win over Marseilles. Sir Alex Ferguson deployed Wayne Rooney and Hernandez in combination up front, for the fourth time in five games. The decision was briskly rewarded as, after five minutes, Rooney took the ball in the left channel and crossed low to Hernandez who finished from close range at the far post. After a 0-0 draw in the Stade Vélodrome, United were still vulnerable to conceding an away goal and Marseilles striker André-Pierre Gignac volleyed a chance over before Souleymane Diawara wasted a free header from a corner. With 15 minutes left, Hernandez looked to have settled the match with another close finish but a Wes Brown own goal from a corner made the finale more tense than many at Old Trafford would have wanted it to be. MORE

Rooney’s touch returns for United

Wayne Rooney’s control and pass in the build-up for United’s first goal was as pure a definition of fantasy football as you will see. His subsequent run into the box to assist Javier Hernandez was impressive; he played as if his head was clear again. MORE

Wigan without banned brothers

Wigan will be without the Tomkins brothers for Friday’s match with Huddersfield after both of them were suspended last night. Joel was sent off for elbowing against Hull, and banned for two games, while Sam was cited for punching and banned for one.

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