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Rovers 1 Nancy 0 Uefa Cup


Alan75
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A goal late into injury time by Rovers Captain Lucas Neill gave Rovers a 1-0 win against Nancy, to put them through to the next round as Group Champions.

match report by Paul

Interesting how people can see a game so differently. I've never seen Nancy play and only knew several people on here rated them highly. I arrived at Ewood expecting a very difficult game. Despite this Sparky had chosen to start with just 4 recognised first choice outfield players, the rest of the side being second choice players and youngsters. Fair enough, we'll either get stuffed or it'll be a glorious win!

It's true Rovers didn't play well but this was a side without six regulars, has probably never played together before, and in a strange formation. Add to this Nancy had no interest in winning this game, the referee and linesman were determined to whistle or flag everything plus the slightest physical contact resulted in a free kick. Had Todd stayed on the defence would have looked more solid, Nolan did OK but he was clearly nervous and has a way to go, there's hope for him. Given all this its no surprise we put in a very average performance. To say we were second best is grossly unfair and doesn't take account of the circumstances of this match. If we'd been offered some competition on the park then we could judge these players.

Nancy proved to be a very, very poor side, totally lacking in any urgency or competitive spirit. If this is the level of competition we can expect I see no reason why Rovers cannot progress further, even reaching the final. I know little of the remaining teams but to date we haven't seen a side, home or away, seriously threaten us. Salzburg are the only ones to give us a game of football yet. Of the remaining teams we can potentially draw, in the next round and going by reputation alone, I guess Auxerre, Besiktas, and Fenerbache could be considered a threat.

This UEFA cup experience is new to most of us, for me it has opened a door on European football I haven't seen for many, mnay years. My feeling is the UEFA cup is 90% populated by poor teams you've never heard of, most of them play unimaginative, no contact football. The officials are unlikely to allow any form of physical contact. In many respects it's no wonder the attendances are poor, this simply isn't the football we are used to watching. In fact a second division team will give the fans a better game in the FA Cup. If this is second-string European football it's no wonder the PL, for its myriad faults, is considered the best in the world, most of this lot are simply awful.

I'm enjoying the success but it's clear we have to wait for the fimal rounds for the sort of European nights I remember from my childhood. The competition is a money-making exercise, a ridiculous format, and designed to make the national leagues more competitive by providing "the rest" with something to play for. Ironically I suspect most of the clubs lose money hand over fist in this competition..

I hope we win it and I won't be judging any of our youngsters on last night's match

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Todd (Nolan 28), Ooijer, McEveley, Bentley, Savage, Mokoena, Peter (Pedersen 67), Derbyshire, Gallagher (McCarthy 67).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Tugay, Nonda, Gray.

Booked: Mokoena, Ooijer.

Goals: Neill 90.

AS Nancy: Lapeyre, Lecluse, Diakhate, Puygrenier, Chretien, Berenguer, Andre Luiz, Gavanon, Biancalani (Sauget 73), Kim (Curbelo 76), Dia (N'Guemo 64).

Subs Not Used: Sorin, Hamdani, Keita, Brison.

Booked: Dia, Gavanon.

Att: 12,568

Ref: Gerald Lehner (Austria).

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