The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 20 April 2011

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The Independent Online

Real eager to end trophy drought

Real Madrid face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final tonight, keen not only to win their first trophy with Jose Mourinho as manager, but also since Pep Guardiola has been Barça coach. One year ago today Mourinho’s Inter beat Barça 3-1 in the Champions League. MORE

Shahzad: Foreign tours a privilege

Unlike some, the England bowler Ajmal Shahzad does not find the crowded international schedule tiresome. “For me, it is all new and exciting,” he said. “I’m playing the sport I love, getting paid for it and visiting countries I would otherwise perhaps never see.” MORE

Marathon legend Waitz passes away

Grete Waitz, the Norwegian runner who won nine New York City marathons, died yesterday from cancer. Waitz set world records, won two London Marathons and won an Olympic silver medal. She was 57 years old. MORE

Rangers storm past Dundee United

Dundee United finished with eight men as they were routed 4-0 at home by Rangers. Steven Whittaker scored two penalties, before goals from Nikica Jelavic and Kyle Lafferty. Mihael Kovacevic, Sean Dillon and Morgaro Gomis were all dismissed for the hosts.

Wasps suspend pair over pub fight

Wasps have suspended Wales international Andy Powell and ex-England prop Tim Payne following an incident in a west London pub on Monday night. The players have been suspended with immediate effect pending an internal investigation. MORE

Ancelotti admits squad weakness

Carlo Ancelotti believes that Chelsea did not strengthen enough last summer. “I don’t think the squad was good enough this year,” he said. “We couldn’t have envisaged having very important players out at the same time. It was very difficult.” MORE

Gloucester see off Northampton

Gloucester consolidated third place in the Premiership with a 27-15 victory over an under-strength Northampton last night. Their tries were scored by Tim Molenaar, Charlie Sharples and Oliver Azam. Freddie Burns kicked 10 points. MORE

Redknapp: League harder next year

Harry Redknapp believes that it will be harder for tonight’s opponents Arsenal to win the league in future. Given improvements from Manchester City and Liverpool, he said “next year will be harder than this year – and this year was harder than before.” MORE

Call to ban touting Wimbledon tickets

The All England Club is urging the Government to make ticket touting at Wimbledon a criminal offence. Touts can currently be told only to leave the area by police but they cannot be prosecuted, unlike at major football matches or the Olympics. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Javier Hernandez fell the wrong side of another penalty controversy at Newcastle last night. However exaggerated his reaction there seemed to be clear contact by the defender. But a United win would not have been deserved. MORE

United’s title charge held up at St James’

Manchester United’s march to the title was slowed last night by a 0-0 draw at Newcastle United, a draw that will give Arsenal renewed hope of catching the league leaders. Despite the return from suspension of Wayne Rooney, the visitors were far from their best. Javier Hernandez’s early far-post shot was smothered by Tim Krul. Newcastle had their chances, particularly Shola Ameobi, while in the second half United’s Ryan Giggs missed from close range and a late penalty claim was denied Hernandez, who was instead booked for diving. MORE

‘Wenger would be sacked in Spain’

Cesc Fabregas has said that if his Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, had gone six years without a trophy at a top Spanish club, he would have been shown the door. “Here it is different,” he said, “the manager is intelligent and the club value different things.” MORE

Injured Murray out of Barcelona Open

Andy Murray has pulled out of this week’s Barcelona Open after medical advice to rest his injured right elbow. Murray made the decision yesterday after practising; he will rest for four or five days before beginning training for the Madrid Masters. MORE