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Sam Allardyce reveals how he once missed out on Robert Lewandowski

Big Sam: How I missed out on Champions League hotshot Lewandowski

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed how he missed out on signing Robert Lewandowski – during his time in charge at Blackburn.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was set to hold talks with Rovers in 2010 as he looked for a move from Polish club Lech Poznan.

But the cash-strapped Blackburn board struggled to find the money and the Iceland volcanic ash cloud put the final nail in the coffin when Lewandowski's flight to England was cancelled.

Dortmund stepped in to secure a deal for a fee reported to be around 4.5million euros and the rest is now history.

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

Allardyce told Sky Sports: 'It's true. He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

'My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

'I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

'I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros now.'

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Allardyce is now left to rue the missed opportunity to sign the Pole who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I think about it every time I see him play.

'He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

'The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession.

'There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

'He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen.'

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

Crystal Palace 0 Barnsley 0: Match Report

Crystal Palace 0 Barnsley 0: Eagles stumble again, while Tykes wear home side's shirts

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 7 April 2013

Crystal Palace continue to stumble in their pursuit of promotion from the npower Championship as they were held to a goalless draw against relegation-threatened Barnsley at Selhurst Park.

The away side, who had to wear Palace's change strip because referee Keith Stroud felt the kits clashed, saw a dogged display rewarded with an important point in their attempts to avoid the drop but never looked like stealing victory as Palace dominated a one-sided encounter.

Glenn Murray and substitute Aaron Wilbraham both missed good opportunities as Ian Holloway's men failed to score for a fourth consecutive game meaning their play-off place is not yet guaranteed.

Who's who Barnsley are forced to wear Palace's away strip (yellow) as the referee felt the kits clashed

Who's who Barnsley are forced to wear Palace's away strip (yellow) as the referee felt the kits clashed

MATCH FACTS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Jedinak, Williams, Bolasie (Dobbie 77), Moritz (Phillips 64), Murray (Wilbraham 80).

Subs Not Used: Price, Richards, Marrow, Gabbidon.

Booked: Jedinak, Williams.

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Wiseman, Foster, Kennedy, Perkins, Mellis (Cywka 90), Etuhu (O'Brien 62), Dawson, O'Grady, Scotland (Dagnall 68).

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Harewood, Jones, Rose.

Booked: Dawson, Hassell, Steele, Perkins, O'Brien.

Att: 21,281

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

On the back of three consecutive league defeats, Holloway made three changes to his starting line-up with Jonathan Williams and Andre Moritz coming in for Stephen Dobbie and Kagisho Dikgacoi, who was ruled out through injury.

Right-back Joel Ward made his first start since December at Ashley Richards' expense but it was the visitors, who were without injured defender Martin Cranie, who started brightest.

Jason Scotland tried his luck with two long-range shots inside the opening three minutes as David Flitcroft's men, wearing Palace's away kit due to a colour clash, began in confident mood.

The Tykes had won three of their past four games ahead of their trip but soon found themselves on the back foot as the hosts began to dictate, Wilfried Zaha's 13th-minute header an early warning signal.

Only goalkeeper Luke Steele's acrobatics denied Brazilian midfielder Moritz's curling free-kick three minutes later before Murray was presented with the clearest opening of the first half.

Frustrated: Wilfried Zaha (right) fails to unlock the Barnsley defence

Frustrated: Wilfried Zaha (right) fails to unlock the Barnsley defence

Faltering: Palace are now without a win in five

Faltering: Palace are now without a win in five

CHAMPIONSHIP – AS IT STANDS

TABLE

Zaha slid in the division's leading goal scorer but Steele stood tall to keep out Murray's clipped effort after 30 minutes.

Yannick Bolasie tested the former
Manchester United youngster once more eight minutes later with a precise
side-footed effort but Flitcroft's side resolutely held on to their
clean sheet going into the interval.

Another Moritz free-kick brought Steele into action in the 53rd minute as the Eagles continued to threaten in front of their biggest home attendance of the season.

Zaha saw his low cross cut out as he tried to pick out Moritz 10 minutes later while Murray failed to head the subsequent corner on target.

Dobbie and Wilbraham then came off the bench as the hosts began to lose momentum and the pair almost engineered a breakthrough with Wilbraham shooting just wide from the edge of the area following Dobbie's through-ball with just nine minutes remaining.

Wilbraham went even closer to clinching three points four minutes later when Jonathan Parr delivered an inviting cross but the former MK Dons striker saw his header flash past the right-hand post.

A perfect cross from Zaha gave Wilbraham a third opportunity to break the deadlock moments later but the final chance of a frustrating game for the home side was blazed over the bar.

PALACE'S REMAINING FIXTURES

Ipswich (a), 16 April

Leicester (h), 20 April

Blackburn (a), 27 April

Millwall (a), 30 April

Peterborough (h), 4 May

BARNSLEY'S REMAINING FIXTURES

Cardiff (a), 9 April

Charlton (h), 13 April

Derby (h), 16 April

Nottingham Forest (a), 20 April

Hull (h), 27 April

Huddersfield (a), 4 May

WTA Sony Open – Miami: Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in the final

Serena storms back to sink Sharapova in three sets and lift Sony Open title in Miami

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

20:14 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 30 March 2013

Serena Williams lifted her sixth Sony Open title after magnificently bouncing back to see off Maria Sharapova in the final in Miami.

The world No 1 was edged out in a tight first set but lost three games thereafter as she stormed to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory and her 11th straight win over Sharapova.

The American has passed Steffi Graf's number of titles in this competition and became the oldest female champion at the tournament, while Sharapova has now been defeated in every one of her five final appearances in Miami.

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

History: The world No 1 became the oldest female winner of the tournament

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

After playing flawless tennis for an hour, Sharapova began to miss with her serve, and Williams dominated rallies with her power.

Sharapova built her lead by keeping Williams on the defensive, and she kissed the line with a winner on consecutive points to break for a 3-2 advantage in the second set.

But then came the turnaround. Williams began to capitalise on Sharapova's tentative second serve and broke back to love before taking advantage of two double faults by Sharapova to break again for a 5-3 lead.

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Williams lost only 10 points in the final set and closed out the victory with a service winner.

'Maria definitely pushed me – she did a really great job today,' Williams said after he win.

'I look forward to our next matches – it's going to be really fun for the fans and for us and for everyone.'

Williams became the first No 1 seed to win the women's title since she was champion nine years ago.

Sharapova, who won the title in Indian Wells at the beginning of March, said: 'It's obviously been a really nice month.

'It's disappointing to end it like this but Serena played a great match and I'm sure we'll play a few more times this year.'

Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 0: Curtis Main secures victory for Tony Mowbray"s side

Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 0: Main is Boro's hero as fans turn on Warnock

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 12 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:03 GMT, 13 February 2013

A boy signed on a free transfer from Darlington proved to be Middlesbrough's Main man.

Curtis Main's perfectly placed header eight minutes from time gave Middlesbrough their first win in six League games and their first victory on Teesside over Leeds in 21 years.

But the 20-year-old, who scored for the second game running since recovering from injury, was sent off by petty referee Keith Stroud in the dying minutes.

Helpless: Paddy Kenny's best efforts could not prevent defeat for Leeds

Helpless: Paddy Kenny's best efforts could not prevent defeat for Leeds

Main was booked twice, for encroaching and handball, and looked as astonished as his manager.

Mowbray said: 'The ref got it wrong.
It was not deliberate handball in a million years. Curtis has amazing
qualities and yet is such a young player who hasn't been educated.

But he is potentially a special
talent. Tonight he is disappointed, frustrated, annoyed and angry but he
got us a great winner.'

Leeds fans chanted 'Warnock, time to
go' at boss Neil Warnock, who reacted with sarcastic applause. He is
refusing to quit and blamed the defeat on his strikers following Luciano
Becchio's departure to Norwich.

Ross McCormack fluffed Leeds's best
chance and Warnock said: 'We have missed three open goals in three games
and all hell breaks loose. 'Unless I run on the pitch and put the
chances in I don't know what more I can do.'

Under fire: The pressure continues to grow on Leeds boss Neil Warnock

Under fire: The pressure continues to grow on Leeds boss Neil Warnock

Rhys Williams should have put
Middlesbrough in front with a fourth-minute back-post volley after a
Grant Leadbitter free-kick put him clear, but Leeds started to take
control after that.

David Norris hit wide and then warmed
the palms of Jason Steele after some neat interplay between McCormack and Steve Morison, while the in-form Luke Varney also drove
away from goal after cutting in from the left.

The home side managed to steady themselves somewhat after that, but were so nearly the architects of their own downfall 28 minutes in.

Paul Green played a hopeful long ball forward that was Steele's all day long but he got his feet wrong and slipped, leaving McCormack with an open goal six yards out. The Scotland international dallied, though, and when he got a shot away, Jonathan Woodgate had recovered sufficiently to deny his former club on the line.

That proved to be Leeds' last chance of the first half and they should have been behind by the time the interval came.

Although not as clear a chance as McCormack's, Faris Haroun got clean through in injury time off Josh McEachran's defence-splitting pass, but Paddy Kenny was quickly off his line to deny him on the edge of the area.

Matchwinner: But Curtis Main was sent off minutes after scoring

Matchwinner: But Curtis Main was sent off minutes after scoring

The first half had hardly been an end-to-end affair but it was in comparison to the start of the second, which was attritional at best.

Woodgate provided the best moment, showing impressive pace and awareness to block off McCormack's run to goal, but as has often been the case in the 33-year-old's career, injury forced him off midway through the half.

Leadbitter, the game's other class act, then curled an edge-of-the-box free-kick just wide of Kenny's right-hand post and that brought about a mini period of drama with Leeds forced to defend for their lives with 17 minutes left.

Relieved: Tony Mowbray watched his side win for the first time in 2013

Relieved: Tony Mowbray watched his side win for the first time in 2013

Kenny did well to deny Leadbitter down to his right and then combined with Sam Byram to deny Williams on the follow-up, with the keeper then darting across his line to pouch a McEachran header that should have been a forgone conclusion.

Boro seemed keen to take the initiative, though, and by bringing on Miller they took it. With nine minutes left his cross hung enough for Main to put a header back across Kenny's goal and into the top right-hand corner.

He was then dismissed by Keith Stroud for a combination of dissent and kicking the ball away but, even though Steele had to deny Habib Habibou, Boro were able to hold on without him.

Pep Guardiola wants Chico Flores at Bayern Munich

EXCLUSIVE: Pep plundering the Premier League… Swansea's Chico lined up to join Suarez at Bayern

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

11:39 GMT, 30 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:45 GMT, 30 January 2013

Pep Guardiola is considering a shock move to sign Swansea City defender Chico Flores when he takes over at Bayern Munich in the summer.

The former Barcelona boss is a huge fan of the eccentric centre-half and in 2008 signed him on loan from Cadiz for Barcelona B. He was keen to take Chico with him to the senior team when he was promoted later that year, but could not reach a deal with Cadiz.

Guardiola has stayed in contact with the 25-year-old and Sportsmail understands he spoke to him as recently as last week, with a source close to both parties claiming a bid could follow soon after he takes the reins at the Allianz Arena from Jupp Heynckes in July.

Case for the defence: Chico has been outstanding for Swansea this season

Case for the defence: Chico has been outstanding for Swansea this season

Should such an extraordinary deal materialise, it would cap a fine season for the Spaniard.

After some shaky early performances following his 2million summer move from Genoa, Chico has impressed immensely at the Liberty Stadium and his partnership with Ashley Williams has developed into one of the Premier League’s most effective. On the past four occasions in which they have both started, Swansea have kept a clean sheet.

Indeed, Chico was one of the best players on the pitch in last night’s 0-0 draw at Sunderland, having produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea last week.

Old acquaintances: Guardiola worked with Chico at Barcelona B

Old acquaintances: Guardiola worked with Chico at Barcelona B

The former Spain Under-21 international is also close to a full cap after national manager Vicente del Bosque watched him impress in the 0-0 draw at Everton on January 12.

Swansea’s position in any future negotiations will be strengthened by the fact Chico still has two years remaining on the deal he signed last summer.

But it would be close to impossible for the defender to turn down Guardiola, who he described as ‘a great man’ in an interview with Sportsmail last month.

Strong position: Chico still has two years left on his deal at Swansea

Strong position: Chico still has two years left on his deal at Swansea

Referring to the time he spent on loan at Barcelona B, during which they were promoted to the third tier of Spanish football, he said: ‘It was a wonderful education. All the memories I have from that time playing with Pep Guardiola are really positive.

‘Pep is very close to the players. He was and is a great but he is very modest, he behaves as one of us. It went well for me. Pep wanted to take me to the first team but Cadiz wanted too much money. That was it.

Mentor: The former Genoa man has the utmost respect for Guardiola

Mentor: The former Genoa man has the utmost respect for Guardiola

‘I still have a book that Pep gave me. It’s called Learning to Lose. He helped all the players there so much.

‘When you have the playing career he had, it creates so much respect. It is a very similar thing with (Michael) Laudrup (the Swansea manager).’

Eden Hazard ball boy row: police launch probe but video supports claim Chelsea ace kicked the ball

VIDEO: Police launch probe into alleged assault on ball boy… but is this the new camera angle that clears Chelsea's Hazard
Belgian FA hit out at Eden Hazard after incident during Capital One Cup tieHazard clashed with ball boy Charlie Morgan, 17, while trying to reclaim ballFormer Chelsea star Pat Nevin backs Hazard and calls Morgan 'disgraceful'
17-year-old ball boy is heir to 42m Swansea director's fortune Claims ball boys were under orders to help Swansea rubbished by club
FA investigating the incident, but PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor does not believe Hazard should face additional punishment

qualifier for Belgium and was filmed tucking into a burger from a van outside.

Steven Martens, the chief executive of the Belgian FA (KBVB) said: 'It's unfortunate and of course it's not something we are proud of. No football authority or person interested in football likes to see acts of violence or lack of respect and this is what happened.

'It might have happened in the heat of the fire but professionals are expected to be able to control themselves.

'They have to be able to control their emotions and when they don't that's unpleasant in general.

Anger: Swansea's Ashley Williams (centre) is held back as he tries to confront Eden Hazard (off camera)

Anger: Swansea's Ashley Williams (centre) is held back as he tries to confront Eden Hazard (off camera)

Sending off: Chelsea's Eden Hazard (#17) receives a red card from referee Chris Foy for violent conduct

Sending off: Chelsea's Eden Hazard (#17) receives a red card from referee Chris Foy for violent conduct

'Of course as we are the Belgium FA we don't like it to be a Belgium national squad player but I am very much convinced that Eden himself will realise that.

'Eden is more than intelligent enough to understand that this is going to be a lesson learned for him. All of us make mistakes in life.'

Martens, speaking at a meeting of UEFA's 53 member associations in Nyon, said Hazard's frustration was perhaps a reflection of the intense pressure on his shoulders.

Helping hand: Chelsea's Demba Ba (right) checks on the ball boy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard

Helping hand: Chelsea's Demba Ba (right) checks on the ball boy after he had clashed with Eden Hazard

Boast: The 17-year-old earlier wrote on Twitter that he was 'needed for timewasting'

Boast: The 17-year-old earlier wrote on Twitter that he was 'needed for timewasting'

He added: 'It is easy to judge from outside but you also have to see it from the player's side too.

'I have been a professional sports coach for many years and the demands on athletes and players are there day-in, day-out.

'Yes we think these guys are well-paid and have a luxury life but on the other hand there is an expectation on them all the time. 'It's not an excuse but it is something that could help us try to understand.'

While the boss of Belgium's football association was damning of Hazard, the Chelsea forward found a supporter in Pat Nevin.

Injured: The ballboy was named as 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, the son of Swansea director David Morgan

Martin Morgan

Wealthy: Charlie Morgan (left), the ball boy who
was kicked by Eden Hazard during a League Cup game last night, is the
son of multi-millionaire businessman Martin Morgan (right)

Property: The self-made tycoon is the owner of the luxury Morgans hotel in Swansea, pictured

Property: The self-made tycoon is the owner of the luxury Morgans hotel in Swansea, pictured

Boasting: Charlie posted this picture of a broken bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne on his Twitter page

betting slips

Boasting: Charlie posted a picture of a broken
bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne on his Twitter page, as well as one
of torn-up betting slips

The former Chelsea winger claimed he would have done the same as Hazard if he had been involved in the controversial ball-boy incident at Swansea.

When asked how he would have reacted to the situation, Nevin told BBC Radio 5: 'I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent.'

And Nevin also criticised the behaviour of 17-year-old Morgan, branding it 'disgraceful'. He added: 'I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball boy acted, and I say “acted”.

'He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured.

Travelling in style: Charlie put up this picture of himself in Virgin Atlantic's upper class

Travelling in style: Charlie put up this picture of himself in Virgin Atlantic's upper class

Destination: The teenager on holiday in Las Vegas, in another picture he posted to Twitter

Destination: The teenager on holiday in Las Vegas, in another picture he posted to Twitter

'He only has one job and his job is to go and give the ball back, and what did he do He keeps the ball.

'I have to say I was absolutely amazed this morning to find he is 17, not 12, not 13. 'He should know what his action should be in that situation. His behaviour was disgraceful.'

The ball boy at the centre of the storm Charlie Morgan is the son of hotel and property tycoon Martin Morgan, said to be the 32nd richest person in Wales.

Morgan is on the the Swansea board of directors – which is how Charlie ended up as a ballboy for the League Cup semi-final against the Londoners.

Pricey: A photo of the Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas which Charlie put on Twitter

Pricey: A photo of the Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas which Charlie put on Twitter

Charlie Morgan receipt

Charlie Morgan weather

Shared: The teenager retweeted someone else's
120,000 receipt with the caption, 'This is huge time', and also let his
friends know about the good weather at his holiday destination

Posting on Twitter before the game, the teenager wrote: ‘The king of all ballboys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.'

Charlie's father is the director of 11 hotel and property companies and has featured in recent editions of the Sunday Times Rich List.

Morgan comes in at No 32 in the top 100 list for Wales – ahead of Premier League footballers Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs and 80s rock chick Bonnie Tyler.

Ben Watkins, 18, a former school friend of Charlie's, said: 'He must be the richest ball boy in football.

In pain: Morgan (second right) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Hazard

In pain: Morgan (second right) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Hazard

'He's mad about Swansea City – what he did was a bit foolish especially after be boasted he was going to time waste. I guess he's been a bit spoiled because his dad's got pots of money.'

In posts on Twitter Charlie brags about drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne and going on holiday to Las Vegas and Dubai.

Swansea are highly unlikely to take any action against Morgan for his part in the ugly clash – and the club has rubbished claims that their ball boys were ordered to give them an unfair advantage in the Capital One Cup clash.

Morgan has been widely accused of
deliberately withholding the ball, a stance seemingly supported by his
posts on Twitter earlier in the day.

Chelsea star: Eden Hazard (right) is pictured earlier in the League Cup match with Swansea City's Ben Davies

Eden Hazard award in May 22, 2011 in Paris

Striker: Eden Hazard is pictured earlier in the match (left) and winning an award in Paris in May 2011 (right)

The club refused to comment when asked to explain the decision, but Swansea vice-chairman Leigh Dineen reiterated Michael Laudrup’s assertion that their ball boys were not briefed to favour the home side.

Dineen told the Guardian: ‘There was no agenda, absolutely not. Stoke, a few years ago, would get the ballboy to wipe the ball down for a long throw and that was something the ballboys were obviously told to do. But certainly we don't line up the ballboys and ask them to waste time. Definitely not.’

A club spokesman added that Morgan,
who started his role aged 12 in 2008, ‘has been a ballboy for about six
seasons and there’s never been a complaint before’.

The
FA have also confirmed they will be taking no action against Swansea
over the incident, while South Wales Police are not pursuing the case as
Morgan declined to press charges.

The FA are reviewing footage of the
action, but Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon
Taylor does not believe Hazard should face additional punishment.

Hurt: The ballboy (centre) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Eden Hazard

Hurt: The ballboy (centre) is ushered away from the sidelines following the incident with Eden Hazard

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He said: 'There is obviously a process which the FA have to go through and it is up to them what they decide. 'But I don't think the young lad involved would want to see Hazard punished further.

'The referee made the correct decision on the night and you do not want people to be hung, drawn and quartered for things that happen in the heat of the moment.

'It is disappointing and Hazard has shown remorse and the two clubs handled the matter very well.

'It will be seen as another stick to beat the game with, but the game has always been about passion and emotions running high and it is a shame for this to overshadow the wonderful achievements of Swansea and Bradford – two clubs who have faced extinction – in reaching the final.'

Coach Alan Curtis also insisted the ball boys were not told to waste time.

He said: 'We never gave them any
instructions whatsoever to slow the game down. It’s never ever been the
case at all. It was a really unfortunate situation.

'I’ve got to be honest though, if I had been the player, I would have tried to get the ball back as quickly as possible.

'Unfortunately it’s been blown up to
be a major incident. It was quickly defused straight after the game.
They met up after the game and shook hands, both apologised and, as far
as we’re concerned, that is the end of it.

'It’s a shame that it’s overshadowed everything.'

Meanwhile, Fulham boss Martin Jol has accused Morgan of 'playing rugby' against Chelsea and said he could understand Hazard kicking out at the teenager.

Jol said: 'Our ball boys are between 10 and 12 years of age. I saw he (Morgan) was probably over-age, probably 21. A big boy, you know Six foot, maybe

'I felt for Hazard, but you can't kick people. He (the ball boy) was playing rugby with him, so I can understand he wanted to get the ball.

'We always tell coaches to tell the ball boys to give the ball back as soon as possible. To do it quick; and not to irritate people.

'Of course you could say Eden should have controlled himself, but it was bizarre. The ball boy shouldn't lie on the ball and play rugby with it.

'He (Hazard) should have controlled himself, but I can see why he did it. I'm not allowed to say I would have done the same so, of course, I would not have done that.'

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Eden Hazard kicks ball boy at Swansea v Chelsea

Hazard horror: Chelsea's Eden shown a red card for kicking ball boy at Swansea

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

21:36 GMT, 23 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 23 January 2013

Chelsea's bid for Capital One Cup glory ended in shame when Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking a ball boy.

In extraordinary scenes as Swansea went through to the final, Chelsea forward Hazard wrestled the boy to the ground in attempting to get the ball back after 79 minutes.

The ball boy held on to the ball and apparently refused to give it up when Hazard could clearly be seen kicking the boy in the ribs.

After consulting with one of his assistants, referee Chris Foy showed the 22-year-old a straight red card.

Swansea will face League Two Bradford in the Wembley showpiece after a 2-0 aggregate victory.

VIDEO: Scroll down to see Hazard's kick on a ball boy

Frustration: Eden Hazard clashes with the ball boy at the Liberty Stadium

Frustration: Eden Hazard clashes with the ball boy at the Liberty Stadium

Flashpoint: Eden Hazard clashes with the Swansea ballboy

Flashpoint: Eden Hazard clashes with the Swansea ballboy

Flashpoint: Eden Hazard clashes with the ballboy

Swans defender Ashley Williams claimed he saw Hazard kick the ball boy.

Chelsea players reacted angrily when Hazard saw red, believing he had tried to get the ball loose to re-start play as the Blues failed to make any inroads on Swansea's 2-0 advantage from the first leg.

'Demba Ba told me the ball boy held on to it,' Williams told Sky Sports 1.

'I saw him kick him in the rib and you can't do that to a young boy.'

Tete a tete: Referee Chris Foy (left) consults one of his officials as the ball boy lies hurt on the floor

Tete a tete: Referee Chris Foy (left) consults one of his officials as the ball boy lies hurt on the floor

Early bath: Hazard (right) gets his marching orders from Foy

Early bath: Hazard (right) gets his marching orders from Foy

VIDEO: Watch Hazard kick the ball boy

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Australian Open 2013: Ekaterina Makarova beats Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4

More Melbourne magic from Makarova as she dumps out fifth seed Kerber

By
Jon Fisher, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

03:30 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:30 GMT, 20 January 2013

Ekaterina Makarova's love affair with Melbourne continued today as she made it through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with an impressive defeat of fifth seed Angelique Kerber.

Makarova's best run at a grand slam came here 12 months ago when she reached the last eight with a stunning upset of Serena Williams.

And she matched that achievement by playing the role of giantkiller once again on Rod Laver Arena, knocking out the German 7-5 6-4.

She's done it! Russia's Ekaterina Makarova celebrates after beating Germany's Angelique Kerber

She's done it! Russia's Ekaterina Makarova celebrates after beating Germany's Angelique Kerber

On top form: Makarova was at her best to see off Kerber in two sets

On top form: Makarova was at her best to see off Kerber in two sets

'It's an unbelievable feeling, I really like playing here,' the Russian said.

'I lost three times to Angelique last year, she is so good so I am very happy.'

Makarova went out to Maria Sharapova last year and the pair will clash again should the second seed beat Kirsten Flipkens later today.

Time for treatment: Kerber receives treatment during her defeat

Time for treatment: Kerber receives treatment during her defeat

Down and out: Kerber shows her emotion as she loses to Makarova

Down and out: Kerber shows her emotion as she loses to Makarova

'I hope I play Maria,' said Makarova. 'Last year I was surprised to reach that stage and I had so many thoughts in my mind. This year I will be ready to play a good game.'

Makarova was the more positive player throughout and held herself together after squandering a 5-2 first-set lead.

She broke for 6-5 and then served it out to edge ahead.

Kerber's chances of finding a route back into the contest were hampered by a back injury and a solitary break in the ninth game proved decisive.

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova beats Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0

Maria's in love again: Sharapova into quarter final after dropping just one game to Flipkens

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

06:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 20 January 2013

Maria Sharapova took a little bit of time to warm up, but continued her progress through the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova had been the most dominant player in the women's draw so far, recording successive 6-0 6-0 victories in the first two rounds before she dispatched seven times grand slam winner Venus Williams with contemptuous ease in the third round.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

The second seed, however, took time to get into her match against the 27-year-old Flipkens and while she won the first set 6-1, it took 43 minutes which demonstrated how difficult she found the tenacious Belgian to put away.

Sharapova, however, cranked into gear in the second set to clinch it in 25 minutes and set up a quarter-final against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova after the 19th-seed dispatched fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4.

Sharapova said: 'I'm certainly happy to be playing this well but it's the quarter-finals and it only gets tougher from here.'

Australian Open 2013: Serena Williams double bagel

Anything you can do, Maria… Serena survives injury scare to answer Sharapova's double-bagel with one of her own

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

03:41 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:41 GMT, 15 January 2013

Serena Williams overcame a right ankle injury to win her first match at the Australian Open 6-0, 6-0 against Edina Gallovits-Hall.

With the match just 19 minutes old and Williams leading 4-0, the 15-time major winner fell to the court awkwardly, clutching her right ankle.

Cruise control: Serena Williams eased through to the second round

Cruise control: Serena Williams eased through to the second round

She was helped to her court-side chair before having her ankle heavily taped by a WTA trainer.

The third-seeded Williams, attempting to win her third consecutive major title, returned to the court to win the next four points and the game, then held service to take the opening set before again receiving treatment.

Fright: Williams was forced to have treatment for an injury to her right ankle during the first set

Fright: Williams was forced to have treatment for an injury to her right ankle during the first set

Fright: Williams was forced to have treatment for an injury to her right ankle during the first set

Fright: Williams was forced to have treatment for an injury to her right ankle during the first set

She also dominated the second set, allowing the Romanian player to win just six points.