The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 4 April 2012


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Ramires: we have more respect under Di Matteo

Chelsea midfielder Ramires said that the team have recovered their "respect" since Andre Villas-Boas was replaced as manager by Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea can continue their resurgence tonight in their quarter-final second leg against Benfica.

"We went through a tough period," Ramires, below, said yesterday, "but have taken strength from this change in the coach. We have found new confidence and feel more respect in ourselves. We began to realise we are a great team, with great players, and have built from our first victory in Roberto's first game."

After winning 1-0 in Portugal in the first leg, Chelsea are favourites to progress to the semi-final, in which they will face Barcelona. "This is half-time and we're leading 1-0, which is basically nothing." Di Matteo said. "Nothing has been done yet."

Fernando Torres, who scored against Aston Villa on Saturday, is likely to start. "Everybody was happy that he scored that goal," said Di Matteo. "The happiness was for the player but also for the team for finishing the game off." MORE

City warn Madrid off Aguero offer

Manchester City will refuse any offer for Sergio Aguero from Real Madrid this summer. Stories in Spain claim that Real may offer Gonzalo Higuain and cash, and City's Argentine striker does have a house in the Spanish capital having played for Atletico. MORE

Messi and Iniesta send Barça through

European champions Barcelona set up a possible semi-final with Chelsea last night after beating Milan 3-1 at home. Lionel Messi scored penalties either side of Antonio Nocerino's strike, while Andres Iniesta's second-half goal made the tie safe. MORE

Bayern edge closer to home final

Two goals from Ivica Olic sent Bayern Munich closer to playing a Champions League final at home in the Allianz Arena in May. Bayern had a 2-0 lead over Marseilles from the first leg and Olic's two first-half goals last night gave them a comfortable win. MORE

Mourinho serious about Apoel test

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho will take Apoel Nicosia seriously tonight, despite a 3-0 lead from the first leg in Cyprus: "I won't make many changes. It is a Champions League game. In football you must show respect and to the fans as well." MORE

Honours even after Jayawardene ton

The first day of the second Test in Colombo ended with Sri Lanka on 238 for 6. After Jimmy Anderson took three early wickets, Mahela Jayawardene hit another excellent century. But wickets for returning seamers Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn kept things close. MORE

Woods hails 'feisty' young McIlroy

Tiger Woods has paid tribute to the talent of Rory McIlroy. "Rory has all of the makings of being a great champion for a long period of time," the 14-times major champion said. "He's very feisty, the way he plays and the way he handles himself." MORE

Blues' Roberts out for six months

The Wales centre Jamie Roberts is to have surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament. He will therefore miss the Cardiff Blues' Heineken Cup quarter-final away to Leinster on Saturday and Wales's three-Test tour of Australia in June. MORE

Birmingham seal late Turf Moor win

Birmingham City continued their push for a play-off place last night with a 3-1 win at Burnley. Danny Ings equalised after Marlon King's opener but late goals from Jordan Mutch and David Murphy won the game for Chris Hughton's team, who are fourth. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If Rory McIlroy has brought a demon back to Augusta after his collapse last year he does not show it. The 22-year-old does not look at all vulnerable. He may just be one of the quickest healers in the history of the game. MORE