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Sv Salzburg 2 Rovers 2.


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Match Report by Scotty.

Got back a couple of hours ago - what a fantastic trip.

Overall the result was a fair one. Salzburg started the game better than us, we were too defensive and negative early on and I think Salzburg sensed this. They started to get forward more often and it wasn't a surprise when they scored. It was finished excellently but the chance came from yet another long ball through the heart of our defence.

Our equaliser came a bit out of the blue to be honest - but what a free-kick. From that moment until half-time though we tore Salzburg apart, winning everything in midfield. Both Tugay and Savage were immense during that period and we fully deserved to be leading at half-time.

We looked comfortable throughout most of the second half until about 10-15 minutes from the end. Salzburg kept putting more forwards on and we just started to defend deeper and deeper. Out wide we allowed far too many crosses to get into the box and Salzburg started to create chances - good chances as well. We rode our luck until the last minute which made their equaliser such a sickener, but it had been coming.

Anyway, a few points:

- McCarthy can't play as a lone striker imo. He isn't strong enough, he doesn't win anything in the air, and he doesn't work hard enough. I lost count of the amount of times one of our full-backs had the ball and was looking for channel run only to see a static McCarthy in the middle. That's not to say that McCarthy's a bad player, I just think he needs someone to play off.

- Neill and Pedersen on the left didn't do enough to stop crosses coming into the box. Salzburg's forwards were all big lumps, so the easiest way to defend against them is to stop their supply. We just didn't do it. The whole defence turned to Pedersen when Salzburg got their late equaliser - Ooijer in particular gave him a right roasting - as it was the umpteenth time he'd let his opponent run off him.

- We wasted possession far too much in the last quarter of the game. As Salzburg pushed forward we had numerous chances to break, but we either lost the ball in midfield (both Bentley and Pedersen tried to take men on too often rather than playing simple balls) or wasted crossing chances. We could, and should, have killed the game off on the break long before they equalised, but we didn't have the necessary intelligence or composure to do it.

- Tugay was man of the match, closely followed by Savage, closely followed by Friedel. They all did their respective jobs superbly. Salzburg bizarrely gave Tugay time and space to play, and boy did he play. I suspect they might get a bit closer to him at Ewood.

- Our central defence partnership is still a soft touch at times. Zurab is great on the ground, he showed superb composure and skill on a number of occasions to dribble his way out of trouble, but he lacks positional sense and can be bullied. Ooijer is a similar sort of player, and although I think he's better in the air than Zurab, he still doesn't always show the necessary strength and competitiveness required.

- Salzburg were strong, physical, competitive, and their forwards in particular were big units. However, their keeper had a mare and they lack real pace - can't see them doing what Genclerbiligi (sp?) did to us at Ewood when their pacey forward tore us apart on the break. And I didn't see too many of them show any great dribbling ability either. They are a decent, strong, workmanlike team, but they aren't top class.

Neither are we though and we'll definately have to defend crosses better if we want to progress. But I think we've got the edge in midfield and I expect us to do enough - although I'm sure Rovers will put us all through the mill first as ever.

Match Report as published by the BBC on line.

LINK - www.bbc.co.uk


Rovers team. Official as supplied by Lee Grooby.

ROVERS: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill ©, Bentley, Tugay, Savage, Gamst, Gallagher (sub Peter 80 mins), McCarthy (sub Nonda 87 mins). Subs not used: Brown, Todd, Mokoena, Jeffers, Gray.

Nolan didn't travel. Of the 20 who did, Reid and McEveley missed out.

Match Report as published by the Official Rovers Web Site (Registration Required)


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