The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 19 October 2011

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The Independent Online

Rooney on the spot after Vidic sees red

Two Wayne Rooney penalties in the final half-hour helped Manchester United retain their unbeaten record in this season’s competition with a 2-0 victory at Otelul Galati. Nemanja Vidic was harshly sent-off for United shortly after the first penalty. MORE

Sven: The day Sir Alex hung upon me

My relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson has not always been smooth, as we both know. I’ll never forget the day when we were in the middle of a phone conversation one minute, and the next minute the line had gone dead! MORE

Unlikely lads vie for World Series

The 107th edition of the World Series begins tonight, contested by two unlikely sides. The Texas Rangers filed for bankruptcy just 15 months ago, while St Louis Cardinals made a spectacular late season comeback. MORE

Wenger ‘delighted’ as Vermaelen signs

Arsenal hope Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen’s decision to sign a new contract will help persuade team-mates Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin to follow suit. “We are delighted,” manager Arsène Wenger said of the deal. MORE

England recall Bell to save ODI series

Trailing 2-0 in their five-match one-day series in India, England need to make changes if they are to save it. Ian Bell will come into the middle order, although would be better placed higher up, while spinner Scott Borthwick may also find a place. MORE

Cech prefers wins to clean sheets

Petr Cech says the success of the team should be put above the need for clean sheets. “The team comes first,” the Chelsea keeper said. “As long as you keep winning. We are improving all the time and we will get back to our record of keeping clean sheets.” MORE

Smith looks ahead to final goodbye

A lover of the French game, New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith is looking forward to a final game with the All Blacks in Sunday’s final. “I’ve had a lot of years here and wouldn’t swap them for anything,” he said. “They’ve been the best days of my life.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

There is a growing conviction that on Sunday night in the World Cup final at Eden Park, Aaron Cruden, the Little Big Man of the All Blacks, will make one of the most impressive rites of passage in the history of his sport. MORE

Last-gasp Aguero winner keeps City dreams alive

Manchester City recorded their first win of the group stage with a nervy 2-1 home victory over Villarreal, Sergio Aguero scoring an injury-time winner. After taking just one point from their opening two games, Roberto Mancini’s side got off to the worst possible start, falling behind to Cani’s tap-in after just four minutes. Adam Johnson was replaced by Gareth Barry as Mancini altered his tactics and City equalised three minutes later, Carlos Marchena turning in a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov. Both teams had chances to score a winner in an end-to-end second half before substitute Aguero, playing his first game for three weeks, slotted home Pablo Zabaleta’s cross. City travel to Villarreal in a fortnight. MORE

Saints go marching on at the summit

Southampton opened up a five-point gap at the top after a 1-0 win over West Ham, Jos Hooiveld’s header shortly before the break giving the hosts a 17th successive home win. Steve Cotterill led Nottingham Forest to a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. MORE

IRB to review Gatland comments

The International Rugby Board is to review Warren Gatland’s claim that Wales considered cheating during last weekend’s semi-final defeat to France. The Wales coach said he considered asking a prop to feign injury, before deciding against it. MORE