The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 30 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Ferguson: Treble harder than before

Sir Alex Ferguson has said it will be far harder for Manchester United to win the treble than it was for them in 1999. “We didn’t have the injuries we do now,” he said. “There is a great desire to do it but we have so many injuries to defenders at present.” MORE

Sri Lanka reach Saturday’s final

Sri Lanka secured their place in the final with a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Colombo yesterday. The Kiwis were bowled out for 217 after winning the toss, and the hosts reached their target with 13 balls left, thanks to 73 from Tillakaratne Dilshan. MORE

Security tight for neighbours’ clash

India and Pakistan meet in the second semi-final today in Mohali, amid tight security measures. The countries are fierce rivals, but Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said the game could bring the nations together. MORE

Zabaleta’s return to cheer stricken City

Pablo Zabaleta will return to Manchester City from compassionate leave, after his father moved out of intensive care. He is unlikely to face Sunderland on Sunday but his return will help fill the gaps left by the injured Jerome Boateng and Micah Richards. MORE

Ponting quits as Australia captain

Ricky Ponting hopes to play on for Australia after resigning as captain, and has targeted the 2013 Ashes. “I think it’ll keep me a bit mentally fresher,” he said of being able to focus on his batting. “I’d love to go back [to England] and give it a crack at winning.” MORE

Triesman ‘botched’ Capello’s contract

Lord Triesman “made a mistake” in hurrying through changes to Fabio Capello’s contract without consulting the FA board, according to Alex Horne, then acting chief executive of the FA. Horne said yesterday that it “should have gone to the whole board”. MORE

England’s Foden arrested in London

Northampton yesterday launched an investigation after Ben Foden was arrested on Monday night on suspicion of criminal damage in London. The England full-back is now on bail until next month and the club are said to be taking the matter “very seriously.” MORE

Northern Ireland held by Slovenia

Northern Ireland missed the chance to overtake Slovenia in Group C last night after only managing a 0-0 draw against them at Windsor Park. Nigel Worthington’s team now rely on results in Estonia and Italy but he said they are “on the right track”. MORE

Burgess barred from Exiles match

South Sydney are adamant that Sam Burgess will not be released to play in England’s international against a World XV Exiles Team, fearing their player may be injured. “It’s an invented game, he won’t be going” said chief executive Shane Richardson. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

It may be some small consolation to Fabio Capello that difficulties with the English language were not entirely foreign even to Sir Alf Ramsey. But Ramsey was always underpinned by the extent of his knowledge of the game. MORE

Gyan equaliser holds England

An excellent late equaliser from Asamoah Gyan secured a deserved 1-1 draw for Ghana at Wembley last night after Andy Carroll’s first-half goal. A much changed England side featured Carroll up front with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing either side of him. The first half was even, with chances at both ends: Young hit the bar from close range for England, while Joe Hart was twice forced into good saves from Dominic Adiyiah. The hosts took the lead just before the break, however, as Downing ran into the box to cushion a pass which came back to Andy Carroll. The Liverpool forward struck the ball past Richard Kingson with his left foot for his first international goal. The second half was livelier than usual for an international friendly, with chances at both ends and some fierce tackling. It seemed that England would win but in the final minute Gyan danced past Joleon Lescott and finished perfectly beyond Joe Hart. MORE

Carroll impresses for Capello’s men

Andy Carroll’s confident finish last night suggests that he is learning to live with the pressure of expectation. His movement and energy were also encouraging, even more so given his lack of match fitness, although his first touch was lacking. MORE

Warnings over Guineas hopes

With one month until the Guineas Festival at Newmarket, trainers have issued warnings over two horses. The well-being of Hooray is a concern for Sir Mark Prescott and dry underfoot conditions are unnerving David Simcock, who trains Dream Ahead. MORE