The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 27 April 2011

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The Independent Online

United outclass toothless Schalke

Goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a precious 2-0 lead from their Champions League semi-final first leg against Schalke last night. United were far superior to the German side, but the game was goalless for the first 67 minutes because of sustained excellence from Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (right). United started brightly, with the preferred combination of Rooney and Javier Hernandez teasing Schalke with their inventive movement. United started to create chances but Neuer saved expertly from Rooney, Hernandez and Ji-sung Park within the first 10 minutes, later denying Giggs twice and Hernandez again. This continued into the second half but on 67 minutes, United went ahead: Giggs moved on to Rooney’s reverse pass and finished through Neuer’s legs. Two minutes later United doubled their lead, as Rooney scored at the near post after a pass from Hernandez. From then on United kept the ball, and take a strong lead back to Old Trafford. MORE

Mourinho engages in mind-games

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has hit out at his Barcelona counterpart Pep Guardiola ahead of tonight’s Champions League semifinal. He said Guardiola was part of a “new era” of coaches who criticise referee’s decisions even if they are correct. MORE

Wolves in danger after Stoke defeat

Stoke City beat Wolves 3-0 at the Britannia Stadium last night, leaving their opponents in the relegation zone. Kenwyne Jones headed in after 16 minutes, and Ryan Shawcross scored just before half-time. Jermaine Pennant grabbed the third. MORE

Hammers fear loss of Noblefor run-in

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble will today undergo a scan on a suspected hernia that will determine whether he can play again this season. His absence would be a serious blow, given Scott Parker has missed the last two games and is a doubt for their next match.

Sunderland suffer a striking crisis

Both of Steve Bruce’s front-line strikers, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck, are injured. “It’s unlikely they’ll play again this season,” he admitted. Both players were injured on Saturday, while fellow striker Fraizer Campbell was recently ruled out for a year.

Tevez back in Manchester

Carlos Tevez returned to Manchester City yesterday, reinforcing hopes that he will be able to play again this season. He has been in Milan for several weeks receiving treatment on a hamstring injury sustained against Liverpool 17 days ago. MORE

Huddersfield rout powerless Salford

Huddersfield went back to the top of the Super League last night with a 52-22 win over Salford at the Galpharm Stadium. The Giants scored nine tries, seven coming from their forwards, with Dale Ferguson and Shaun Lunt both landing two. MORE

Pardoe stops Notts from taking charge

Worcestershire reached 253 for 7 on the first day of the County Championship match at Trent Bridge after being put in by Nottinghamshire. Matthew Pardoe top scored, finishing the day on 56 not out. Andre Adams took 4 for 57. MORE

Porterfield gives Bears a fine start

Warwickshire’s bright start to the season continued yesterday at Chester-le-Street as they finished 345 for 7 at the close of the first day against Durham. William Porterfield made 87 and captain Jim Troughton scored 76; the pair put on 131 together. MORE

O’Sullivan draws level with Higgins

Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins ended the first session of their World Championship quarter-final locked at 4-4. Higgins twice squandered two-frame leads, while O’Sullivan showed his form with a break of 89 to stop himself going 5-2 down. MORE

No 1 Westwood tired of major talk

World No 1 Lee Westwood has admitted he is becoming tired of constantly answering questions over his lack of major triumphs. “The amount of times I have to answer it gets on my nerves,” he said. “It could be no comment after this.” MORE

Henson future remains in doubt

If Gavin Henson is, as expected, released by Toulon following his latest indiscretion, it will further impede his struggling career. The talented Welsh centre has played just 30 club games since the start of the 2007-08 season. MORE

James Lawton

Manchester United last night made a mockery of some of their labours this season. Michael Carrick (left) was able to easily pull strings in the middle and Giggs picked his moments of penetration almost as though from memory.