Championship round-up: Richards'tweets end after abuse


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The Independent Football

Micah Richards, the Manchester City defender, has closed his Twitter account after receiving further racial abuse, his agent has confirmed. Lincolnshire Police opened an investigation after the 23-year-old was sent an abusive tweet last November. Richards chose not to close his account then, but has now done so after more incidences of the problem. His spokesman said: "Micah is upset about closing his account because he enjoyed the banter and engaging with fans."

In the Championship, Billy Sharp's first Southampton goal, deflected in after 33 minutes, doubled Saints' lead against Burnley at St Mary's, Adam Lallana having headed them in front in the eighth minute. The2-0 win lifted Saints to within a point of leaders West Ham, whom they visit on Tuesday night.

Manager Nigel Adkins is looking forward to Sharp's partnership with leading scorer Ricky Lambert. "You can see the link-up play," he said, "there are goals in both of them. They will be a huge threat for any defence."

Cardiff City, fourth, lost 2-1 at Leicester City, Paul Gallagher on target from a penalty and a free-kick, and Blackpool stay fifth after being held to a 1-1 draw at Bloomfield Road by financially troubled Portsmouth. Hull City moved into the top six thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Bristol City, but Middlesbrough slipped out of the play-off places when their match against Ipswich was abandoned after 37 minutes because of the icy conditions at Portman Road.

Elland Road is used to seeing late winners this season, but not often scored by the visitors. Alan Navarro's 91st-minute drive earned Brighton a 2-1 win and harmed Leeds United's caretaker manager Neil Redfearn's chances of getting the job permanently.

"A lack of professionalism is something that has run through for a while," he said. Perhaps significantly, Keith Curle, long-term assistant to Neil Warnock, was watching in the stands.

Reading stayed in touch with a 2-0 defeat of bottom-of-the-table Coventry City, who are now eight points from safety. Nottingham Forest drew 1-1 with Watford in an emotionally charged atmosphere at the City Ground, a week after the death of former Forest chairman Nigel Doughty, and Millwall drew 0-0 with Derby.


Milan showed their resilience by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Udinese. Trailing from the 19th minute after Antonio Di Natale's shot deflected in off Thiago Silva, Arsenal's next Champions' League opponents struck back in the last 15 minutes through Maxi Lopez and the teenager Stephan El Shaarawy.

Barcelona suffered another blow in pursuit of a fourth successive Spanish League title. Barça, already trailing Real Madrid by seven points, lost 3-2 at Osasuna. They travel to play Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions' League on Tuesday.

Scottish Premier

In a match that saw both sides reduced to 10 men, Joe Ledley's goal gave leaders Celtic a 1-0 win over Inverness CT to maintain their four-point lead over Rangers, who came from behind to win 4-1 at Dunfermline.