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Match Report


Posted Sat 01 Oct 11 at 16:57 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Man City 4

It was an Ewood afternoon to forget for Rovers as Manchester City hit four unanswered second half goals to claim a comfortable victory.

The visitors dominated the match for long spells, but at the break the game was goalless, Rovers working hard to contain their richly-assembled opponents.

But two goals in as many minutes at the beginning of the second half by Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli sent City on their way before Samir Nasri saw his deflected shot creep home.

Rovers worked City 'keeper Joe Hart in the closing stages, but the home side's misery was complete when Stefan Savic headed home a fourth with three minutes remaining.

Ahead of the game Steve Kean made three changes from the side that tasted defeat at Newcastle United last time out. The Rovers boss was able to welcome back Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Goodwillie after injury, whilst Radosav Petrovic was given his first league start.

Those missing out were Martin Olsson through suspension, Michel Salgado with injury and Mauro Formica who dropped to the bench.

For the visitors, they made six changes from the side that lost to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, James Milner, Adam Johnson, Aleksander Kolarov and Mario Balotelli all starting.

Ewood was bathed in sunshine as Rovers got the game underway, but the early excitement from both sets of fans soon fizzled out as the match became a game of cat and mouse.

It was the side in red and black doing the pressing, Yaya Toure missing a great chance on ten minutes, blazing over from just inside the area after David Silva's near post shot was pushed away by Paul Robinson.

Rovers countered with two 'almost' chances of their own, Morten Gamst Pedersen's ball to the back post came close to being pounced upon by Christopher Samba but Joleon Lescott arrived in time to head clear.

Three minutes later and following a storming run by Junior Hoilett he fed Yakubu into the area, but just as the Nigerian was set to pull the trigger James Milner made a superb last-ditch challenge.

Rovers were working hard, tracking back in numbers to restrict their high-priced opponents, but the visitors ended the half in the ascendency, but wasted several opportunities.

After Aleksander Kolarov and James Milner hit efforts narrowly wide it was the turn of Mario Balotelli to spurn a host of chances as the first 45 drew to a close.

A dipping effort from the Italian saw Paul Robinson scrambling across his area as the ball flashed inches wide. An overhead kick went wide. Then the side netting was ruffled moments later from a near post effort after Pablo Zabaleta's good work.

City started the second half with the same attacking intent shown at the end of the first. Moments after the turnaround David Silva drove narrowly wide from inside the area.

Five minutes later and that man Balotelli was again in the thick of the action, striking the outside of the post with a delightful right-footed shot.

City's rewards for their efforts eventually followed. A 57th minute corner kick from Aleksander Kolarov was only cleared as far as Adam Johnson and the City wide man, who had had a relatively quiet match, took a touch before curling a wonderful effort into the far top corner.

Rovers had barely time to draw breath when the visitors doubled their lead. Silva the provider with a cross from the left that Mario Balotelli smashed home from close range. The Italian finally getting the goal his play deserved.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining City grabbed their third. Breaking after a Rovers attack, the visitors tricked their way into the area before David Silva beat the offside trap to tee up Samir Nasri and although his shot took a deflection, the ball crept into the corner of the net.

With the visitors easing off Rovers were denied twice by Joe Hart saves. Substitute Mauro Formica the first to let fly with a 76th minute effort that looked to be dipping under the bar until the England man tipped the ball over.

That resultant corner kick came to nothing but one four minutes later would see Hart scrambling backwards to save. Morten Gamst Pedersen's inswinger looked to be creeping only for Hart to touch the ball away.

A blaster from Yakubu soon followed, Hart at full stretch as it flashed past the far post.

Rovers' misery was complete with three minutes remaining. Samir Nasri's corner kick picked out City sub' Stefan Savic who was criminally unmarked as the Serbian headed home.

Even a consolation goal eluded the home side, Chris Samba somehow touching the ball wide with just Hart to beat.

ROVERS: Robinson, Lowe, Samba (c), Dann, Givet, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, Yakubu, Goodwillie (sub Formica 61 mins).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Slew, Rochina, Vukcevic, Roberts, Hanley.

MAN CITY: Hart, Kompany (c), Zabaleta, Lescott, Milner, Johnson (sub Savic 79 mins), Kolarov, Aguero (sub Nasri 28 mins), Silva, Y. Toure, Balotelli (sub Dzeko 88 mins).

Subs not used: Pantilimon (GK), Barry, Clichy, De Jong.

Booked: Givet (Rovers), Zabaleta (Man City).

Attendance: 24,760

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