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Match Report

 

Posted Mon 25 Apr 11 at 22:31 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Man City 1

Rovers once again suffered at the hands of a dubious decision as Manchester City claimed all three points at Ewood Park.

The first half saw City quick out of the blocks, David Silva striking the woodwork after just three minutes, but Rovers saw the early pressure off to end the opening 45 strongly, Chris Samba and Benjani both going close, whilst Jason Roberts had strong claims for a penalty kick waved away.

Roared on by a vociferous home crowd Rovers continued to force the pace after the interval Martin Olsson, Samba and Benjani all going close.

But the talking point of the match would prove to be the decisive one as City substitute Edin Dzeko scored the only goal of the game with 15 minutes remaining. How much of the shot Paul Robinson saw is debatable as an offside Mario Balotelli stood in his way.

The goal was allowed to stand, and although Rovers went close through Phil Jones and Martin Olsson they were left pointless in a match in which they deserved much more.


Ahead of the game Rovers made two changes from the side that lost at Everton last time out.

Both were of the forward variety with Benjani and Jason Roberts coming in for the ineligible Roque Santa Cruz and young Spaniard Ruben Rochina who dropped to the bench.

Junior Hoilett failed to recover from the hamstring strain and didn't make the 18-man squad.

For the visitors, they named the same side that defeated Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, and from the off they played with the sort of confidence that saw them dispatch their city rivals the previous weekend.

Just three minutes were on the clock when the frame of Paul Robinson's goal was rattled, Gareth Barry's mis-control working in City's favour as David Silva let fly only to see his 18-yard strike slamming against the upright.

The pressure continued towards the Blackburn End, Mario Balotelli seeing a free-kick comfortably claimed, then from a corner, a glancing header from Barry saw Michel Salgado clear away from his spot on the post.

As the half wore on Rovers started to grow in confidence, strong claims for a penalty were waved away after Vincent Kompany caught Jason Roberts in the box. The striker's undoing was probably his theatrical tumble that failed to impress referee Andre Marriner.

Phil Jones took it upon himself to get the game by the scruff of the neck with two barnstorming runs that deserved much more. The young centre half twice taking the ball from his own half to the opposition area, but City defended stoutly.

Chris Samba twice headed narrowly wide from corner kicks, whilst Benjani was inches away from getting a clean connection on a Brett Emerton cross, the Zimbabwean just not tall enough as the ball skimmed off his head as the home side ended the half in the ascendency.

Paul Robinson was quickly called upon after the restart, clawing the ball away from under his own bar to deny Toure from Kolarov's centre, but that was a rare City attack as Rovers kept up the pressure shown in the latter part of the first half.

Piling forward, Brett Emerton charged into the area but Jason Roberts couldn't divert his header goalwards, the ball running through to Martin Olsson who reacted at the back post but could only divert into the side netting.

Rovers continue to press, Olsson terrorising down the flank. Roberts shooting from the edge of the box but it deflected kindly into the arms of Hart. Moments later Samba got his head to the ball in the box once again, but his header was straight at the City 'keeper.

Ruben Rochina was given his Ewood bow just past the hour mark, replacing the hard working David Dunn. The former Barcelona youngster immediately impressing with his close control, his trickery causing a rash challenge from De Jong, but as was all too often, Rovers couldn't take advantage of the situation.

City hadn't threatened aside from that early second half chance, but David Silva head other ideas, making space for a shot that he curled just outside Paul Robinson's right hand post.

At the other end Benjani tried his luck but it doesn't trouble Hart.

With twenty minutes to go both sides made substitutions, Rovers bringing on Nikola Kalinic for Benjani, City bringing on Edin Dzeko for the quiet Adam Johnson, but unfortunately for those of a blue and white persuasion, it was the opposition striker who would make the decisive impact, albeit in controversial circumstances.

With 15 minutes to go City attacked down the left, David Silva cut in to shoot, his effort deflecting off Phil Jones but alas the ball went straight into the path of Dzeko who gleefully smashed the ball into the back of the net.

Should the goal have stood? Mario Balotelli, stood in an offside position, perhaps impeded Paul Robinson's view of the shot, but the referee wasn't interested in Rovers' protests.

The home side continued to press for a leveller, Ruben Rochina hooked an effort wide after a scramble following a corner, whilst the best chance fell to man of the match Phil Jones but he headed over from six yards out from Rochina's inswinger.

Five additional minutes were shown and there were a few nervy moments as Rovers threw countless bodies up front. Martin Olsson seeing a free-kick brilliantly saved by Joe Hart after Kalinic had been brought down.

The last action of the match could have seen a home penalty when Gareth Barry appeared to impede Niko Kalinic, but as the Croatian manfully tried to play on there was no decision to be made by Marriner despite the appeals.

The result was harsh on Rovers who had given their all in a pulsating encounter, they'd have been full value for a point against a Champions League chasing Manchester City side, but in the end it is another harsh decision that is their undoing.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), P. Jones, Givet (sub Diouf 85 mins), Emerton, Dunn (sub Rochina 63 mins), J. Jones, Olsson, Benjani (sub Kalinic 70 mins), Roberts.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Formica, Pedersen, Hanley.

MAN CITY: Hart, Kompany (c), Zabaleta, Johnson (sub Dzeko 72 mins), Kolarov, Barry, Lescott, Silva (sub Boyata 90 mins), De Jong, Toure, Balotelli (sub Vieira 84 mins).

Subs not used: Taylor (GK), Milner, Wright-Phillips, Jo.

Booked: J. Jones, Emerton (Rovers), Barry, Balotelli, De Jong (Man City)

Attendance: 23,529

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