The Independent

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Benfica rout Brugge to reach Champions League quarter-finals

Benfica continued its good run with a comfortabl­e 5-1 win over Club Brugge yesterday to seal its spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the second straight season. It advanced 7-1 on aggregate following its 2-0 win in the first leg in Belgium. Rafa Silva, Joao Mario and David Neres scored a goal each, and Goncalo Ramos found the net twice for Benfica, which hadn’t made it to the last eight in consecutiv­e seasons in more than five decades. It was eliminated by eventual runner-up Liverpool last year. Benfica now has the best attack in the Champions League

this season with 23 goals, one more than Napoli and two more than defending champions Real Madrid. The Portuguese club has not failed to scored in its last 17 European matches, and it has scored two or more goals in 11 of its last 13 games in Europe. Benfica, twice a European champion in the early 1960s, had last made it to the last eight in consecutiv­e seasons in 1968 and 1969. It last advanced past the quarter-finals in 1990, when it eventually lost the final to AC Milan. AP

Liverpool fans to get Uefa refund after Champions League final

Uefa has announced that it will refund Liverpool supporters affected by the chaos at last season’s Champions League final in Paris. The encounter between the Merseyside club and Real Madrid at the Stade de France was marred by significan­t trouble outside the ground, with kick-off delayed by more than half an hour. A report commission­ed by Uefa found that the governing body bore “primary responsibi­lity” for organisati­onal and safety failings at the final.

The organisati­on has now confirmed that all 19,618 Liverpool fans who bought tickets from the club’s allocation are eligible for a refund. “We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehens­ive and fair,” said Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridi­s in a statement. Both Uefa and French authoritie­s initially blamed ticketless fans for causing clashes outside the Paris venue, though the report found there was “no evidence” for these “reprehensi­ble” claims. The report concluded that it was “remarkable” that the chaos had not resulted in the loss of life.

Refunds for supporters who bought tickets via the club will be facilitate­d by Liverpool.

England confirm injury blow for France clash

Courtney Lawes has been ruled out of England’s Six Nations clash against France but Marcus Smith is in line to feature after

being retained in a 27-player group. Smith is one of two flyhalves who will prepare for the fixture having been included alongside captain Owen Farrell. George Ford, kept in camp ahead of Smith for last week’s training days in Brighton, has been allowed to return to Sale Sharks. Another injury to Lawes, who made his return to action against Wales in Round Three, comes as a blow to head coach Steve Borthwick, who talked up the forward’s leadership qualities when installing him as a vicecaptai­n ahead of the championsh­ip. The 34-year-old now faces a period on the sidelines with a shoulder injury after missing significan­t portions of this season with glute and calf injuries, as well as an issue with his vestibular system.

‘Inherently probable’ Vaughan made racist comment

It is “inherently probable” Michael Vaughan did make a racist comment towards four Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity, a lawyer for the England and Wales Cricket Board told a hearing yesterday. Vaughan is charged with bringing the game into disrepute by saying to Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ulHasan and Ajmal Shahzad “there’s too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that” prior to a Twenty20 match against Nottingham­shire in June 2009.

Vaughan categorica­lly denies the allegation but ECB lawyer Jane Mulcahy told a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing the alleged comment was “in the same vein” as tweets Vaughan posted around a similar time and argued it was therefore “inherently probable” the words were said. The ECB submission stated: “Michael Vaughan cannot refute the words because he cannot remember saying them. Instead, he asserts he would not have said those words.”

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 ?? (AP) ?? Joao Mario scores Benfica’s fourth goal from the penalty spot last night
(AP) Joao Mario scores Benfica’s fourth goal from the penalty spot last night
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