The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 21 November 2012


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The Independent Online

Chelsea on verge of exit but Celtic hopes go down to wire

Chelsea's hopes of reaching the last 16 are out of their hands after they were well beaten 3-0 at Juventus last night. Goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco condemned the holders to defeat to leave Roberto Di Matteo's side in third place in Group E with just one match to go.

Elsewhere, Celtic went down 2-1 in Benfica in Group G – Giorgios Samaras, above, scoring their goal – but remain favourites to qualify with a home match against Spartak Moscow to come next month, while a weakened Manchester United, already assured of Group H top spot, went down 1-0 to Galatasaray, Burak Yilmaz heading in shortly after the break. MORE

Lancaster wields axe for Boks clash

The England coach, Stuart Lancaster, has dropped Charlie Sharples, Tom Johnson and Thomas Waldrom for Saturday's match with South Africa. The Springboks' lock Eben Etzebeth is free to face England after he was last night cleared of gouging Scotland's Greig Laidlaw. MORE

Aussie interest as Beckham quits LA

Melbourne Heat are one of a number of clubs interested in David Beckham after the former England captain announced he was leaving LA Galaxy. "We're putting forward an offer," Heat chief executive Scott Munn said. "It's compelling. The opportunity is here for him to come." MORE

Wenger looking to bring back Henry

Thierry Henry could be set for another loan return to Arsenal, with manager Arsène Wenger interested in bringing the New York forward back to the Emirates. "Will I sign him? I don't rule it out," Wenger said. "I don't know if he would be interested. He is sharp." MORE

Mourinho: City will not escape group

Jose Mourinho has ridiculed Manchester City's hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League. "This season  [City] will be out," he said. "They can win [tonight] and at Dortmund. But eight points is not enough and they will be out for a second successive time." MORE

Finn ruled out of second Test match

England bowler Steve Finn will miss the second Test against India with a thigh injury, casting doubt over his participation for the rest of the series. "He's having a scan," coach Andy Flower said. "We don't think there's structural damage, we need to check." MORE

Coach hopes his batsmen will flower

The England coach, Andy Flower, has called for his batsmen to be judged only at the end of the series in India, following their failings in the first Test. "I hope that at the end we have fought our way back and shown real skill against spin," he said. MORE

Dettori drug hearing starts in secret

The hearing into Frankie Dettori's failed drugs test began in Paris yesterday, although findings were not disclosed. A medical panel of France Galop met in France with Dettori's lawyer – the jockey spoke via a conference call. MORE

Rutherford aims for more success

Greg Rutherford is eager to prove his Olympic gold medal was not a one-off. "I know I can jump a lot further than 8.35m," the high-jumper, who is set to move to the United States, said. "I want to win some other titles, to show I'm not just a one-trick pony."

McIlroy: Changing clubs won't matter

Rory McIlroy does not believe a change of clubs will affect his game. "Not at all," he said. "All manufacturers make great equipment nowadays and it's all very similar. I don't think it will make any difference."

Opinion: James Lawton

It was always unlikely Chelsea would maintain their foothold in Europe against Italy's restored giants and when Petr Cech raced recklessly from his goal, Roberto Di Matteo's face told a story of resignation. MORE