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Rovers 2 v Man City 3


Alan75
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Match Report by Kamy

Rovers crash to home defeat

The years of pain that the blue half have had to endure over the last 10 years were replaced with pure ecstasy last night as they overcame Blackburn Rovers to claim top spot in the premiership in a exciting but scrappy encounter.

The atmosphere within Ewood park was electric despite a disappointingly low crowd, however those that did turn up were rewarded with a game which was more about Pace and Power rather than Skill and Finesse, oh and add to that the odd defensive error.  Throughout the night the defences struggled and really the score line could easily have been much higher, as it was it only took 2 minutes for city to take the lead, awarded a free kick 35 yards out Tarnat stepped up to take it., surely he wasnt going to shoot from there, but shoot he did and his bending thunderbolt whizzed past a helpless Friedel.  City could have doubled their lead on 19 minutes when a slick move left Wright-Phillips with an opportunity from 8 yards which he sliced wide, that seemed to wake up Rovers who on 22 minutes should have equalised after great work by Cole, new signing Reid unleashed a left foot shot which Seaman could only parry into Dwight Yorkes path, Yorke stretched but his effort dribbled wide of the goal.  The game seemed to petering out for a draw when on 44 minutes a Andy Cole shot was deflected wide for a corner, Emerton's in swinging corner caused confusion and ended up with Sinclair heading past a floundering David Seaman to level the match.

The second half began at a frantic pace with both defences stretched to breaking point, Flitcroft and Yorke had opportunities to give rovers the lead in the first 10 minutes, whist for City Sibierski missed a guilt edge chance on 56 minutes.  14 minutes into the second half City took the lead, the impressive Burton burst pass 2 Rovers defenders and steered the ball into the bottom corner of the goal, again disappointing defending by Rovers as both Taylor and Amoruso head opportunities to clear the danger.  Back came Rovers though, Amoruso powered an header passed a flapping David Seaman to restore parity.  If anything after the equaliser the game become even more franatic with Jansen twice going close to giving Rovers the lead.  Just when the game seemed to petering out for a draw a long clearance flew over the half way line towards Amoruso, you could almost see the panic as he was pressurised by Anelka his mis-header was latched onto by Anelka, but even then it seemed impossible that he could score from such a tight angle but somehow he managed to squeeze the ball through Freidal's legs.  After that Rovers tried in vain to comeback for a third time but were reduced to long punts upfield which the city defence managed to deal with.

So city top of the premier league for the first time ever and the blue half of Manchester now head into a top of the table clash with Arsenal on Sunday.  Blackburn on the other hand clearly have a lot of work to do if they want to build upon what they achieved last season, defensively they looked a shambles, particularly Taylor and Amoroso who were exposed time and again, Rovers also lacked the killer ball in the final third, constantly Tugay was looking for options wide which weren't there.  Despite the setback the quality is there and with moves for Ferguson, Dino Baggio and Marcus Babbel likely before the transfer deadline dont bet against Blackburn being surprise challengers for one of the coveted Champions League spots.

Ratings

Blackburn:

Friedel ; His worst performance in a Rovers Shirt. 5

Neill ; Gave away possession to many times and looked jittery 5

Gresko ; Rovers best player on the night looked assured 8

Taylor ; Another nervous performance 5

Amoruso ; Great at set pieces but prone to defensive errors 6

Flitcroft ; Good first half but went missing in the second 6

Tugay ; Kept possession well 7

Emerton ; Looked like the pace of the game was to much for him 6

Reid ; Never took on his man, looked out of his depth 5

Yorke ; Very lively until he was taken off with an injury 7

Cole ; Looks like he is coming back to his best, starved of good service 7

Jansen  7

Thompson  6

Grabbi  6

Subs not used: Johansson, Kelly

City:

Seaman ; Didnt look commanding at set pieces 5

Sommeil ; Prone to lapses in concentration 5

Distin ; City best defender by a mile 6

Sibierski ; Showed good touches but still adjusting to the pace 6

Sun ; Solid game, cope well with the threat of Reid and Emerton 6

Tarnat ; Thunderbolt of a free kick 7

Barton ; Very busy performance, took goal well 7

Bosvelt ; Quiet but effective 7

Sinclair ; Bad error for Rovers goal 6

Wright- Phillips ; Well marshalled by Gresko 6

Anelka ; Took his goal well and looked a menace all night 7

Subs not used: Macken, Berkovic, Tiatto, Dunne, Weaver

Final Score: Rovers 2   City 3

Attendance: 23,361

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