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Rovers 1 ?Genclerbirligi 1


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In years to come, the record books will show that Blackburn failed again to progress in a European competition, only the 14,573 supporters who braved the cold Lancashire night will know how close Blackburn came in progressing to the next round. The final score of 1-1 didn’t reflect the dominance that Rovers had in this game, for with a bit of luck and better finishing Rovers could have been at least 3-0 up within 15 minutes.

With the injured Andy Cole (cricked neck) missing, Rovers started off attacking the Blackburn End, with Jansen and Grabbi up front, both of which were guilty of missing gilt edged chances within 10 minutes off the kick off, firstly Jansen from about 10 yard and then Grabbi shooting wide, of an open goal mouth after Jansen’s shot came off the bar. In between these chance Rover’s where denied a clear penalty, (well at least to those sat in the Blackburn End) when a Genclerbirligi defender handled in the box.

For the majority of the first half it would appear that the seats at Ewood Park had been wired to the electric sub main, as fans jumped up and down following the action on the pitch and this was to be the tone for the night, with Rovers hitting the woodwork 3 times and the players for all their efforts unable hit the back of the net.

With Blackburn throwing everything, bar the kitchen sink at Genclerbirligi, Rover’s took the lead shortly after Yorke had replaced Gresko, the keeper failing to collect Yorke’s right wing cross, Jansen shot home at the second attempt after his first shot had rebounded off a defender. However within minutes, Reid committed a schoolboy error, when instead of kicking the ball into Row Z, he lost the ball trying to play it out allowing Genclerbirligi to get to Ozkan, who in turn fired passed the extremely displeased Friedel.

Still striving to win the game Rover’s continued to attack, sending Amoruso up front, with Taylor taking over from Todd in the defence. With Rover’s getting more desperate even Friedel went up for a corner. However this was not going to be Rovers night with Genclerbirligi keeper making a superb save to prevent a Thompson powerful free kick hitting the back of the net.

For the neutral this would have been an entertaining game, however for the Ewood faithful it was full of frustration, Rovers had an uphill task after the first leg, however with a little luck and some better finishing we never know what might have been…………..

Final Score 1-1

Rovers: Friedel, Reid, Amoruso, Todd (Taylor 77) Gresko (Yorke 62) Emerton, Flitcroft, Tugay, Thompson, Jansen, Grabbi (Baggio 60).

Subs not used: Johansson, Gallagher, McEveley, Kelly.

Yellow cards: Thompson, Emerton, Todd.

Genclerbirligi: Botonjic, El Saka, Bozkurt, Mercimek, Baris, Tandogan, Balci, Skoko (Karaman 89), Daems, Ozkan (Ozbey 75), Youla (Cihan 82).

Subs not used: Basturk, M'Bayo, Gursel, Sevim.

Yellow cards: Mercimek

Referee: Eric Braamhaar (Holland).

Attendance: 14,573

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