1-0 McCarthy 13
- Match reports
- 02 September 2007 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
Sven-Goran Eriksson has recalled his big guns as the Blues look return to winning ways in the Premier League against Mark Hughes' Rovers. Changes all-round as the hosts show five switches from their European midweek game - City better that with eight changes. Let's hope City are three (goals and points) better by the end of the game.
We got underway at Ewood after two false starts by Rovers. It was all to no avail as Savage punted a rugby-style kick upfield which went straight out of touch. City started in their purple kit and hoped their Emirates aside purple patch would continue.
It was the Blues fans with the first thing to cheer about after a typical Richard Dunne challenge let Robbie Savage know he was in a game. The floppy-haired Welshman eventually sat and waited for the urgent medical attention he needed.
City were showing good touches in the opening minutes and Elano was certainly enjoying what looked to be a free-role in behind Bianchi.
But it was another of Sven's 'foreign legion' that almost brought about the first goal on nine minutes, as Martin Petrov's left foot rocket of a shot which seared towards the top corner was pushed away by Friedel and headed behind for a corner.
Blackburn's first real bit of action led to a corner of their own, which they were not prepared to waste. The deep ball in from the right was headed back into play by Samba for Santa Cruz to force a save from Schmeichel before Benni McCarthy popped up to put the ball in against the run of play.
Skipper Richard Dunne was booked on 17 minutes for a couple of fouls - but that was it for Savage - during the booking he'd had enough and had to go off; replaced by Tugay.
On 26 minutes Rovers had three corners in succession and City looked nervy on two. The first was touched onto the outside of the post before Dunne somehow hit the underside of his own bar. The nerves showed again as the second came in.
That was enough to force Eriksson on to the offensive and just beyond the half hour mark a bemused looking Michael Johnson was replaced by Emile Mpenza - the boss looking to get at Rovers again with a 4-4-2 formation.
Five minutes before the break City should have had a nailed on penalty as Emerton decided to bring Aussie Rules to the Premier League with a blatant strangle hold on Bianchi, the referee, with surely a good view gave nothing.
Despite their early promise, City were behind at half time in what had turned in to an open match, the next goal will prove vital here as the Rovers crowd began to allow impatience to set in at times.
HALF TIME: Rovers 1-0 City
No other changes at the break with City needing to stamp more authority on the game and make sure they claim the second goal of the game.
Sven's men again started with purpose and on 48 minutes David Dunn was booked for a stupid foul on Stephen Ireland.
At the other end Santa Cruz almost wormed a way through to double the Rovers lead a combination of Richards and Schmeichel kept him out.
Tugay's tug on Mpenza moments later saw the Turkish player's name taken and in the pre-free-kick melee Gamst Pedersen joined him in the book. Petrov eventually curled the well-placed free-kick around Friedel's goal.
It was to get worse for Rovers, and Tugay on 54 minutes, as he quickly earnt a second yellow for a grab on Hamann as the German ran away from him in the middle of the park. Clearly unhappy the Turk kicked out at the water bottles as he disappeared down the tunnel, much to the travelling Blues fans' amusement.
Referee Dean had his book out again two minutes later, taking the name of recent England call-up, David Bentley. The added spice on the pitch had the supporters off it in good voice.
Down to 10 men, Hughes decided it was time to preserve their lead by replacing goalscorer McCarthy with Andre Ooijer, but the advantage of the extra man didn't last long.
A theatrical fall from Santa Cruz after a coming together on the edge of the box with Richard Dunne attracted the referee's attention and Dunne was off on 65 minutes.
The resulting free-kick was hammered goal bound by Pedersen before deflecting out for a corner. Blackburn should have made it two as giant centre-back Samba sent his header just over the bar.
Nedum Onuoha was drafted in from the bench as cover for Dunne 20 minutes from time as Sven didn't want to have to come back from 2-0 down. It was almost that soon after as a decent Rovers move caught City short before Schmeichel was called into action with a smart stop from Emerton.
With two less men on the pitch the game was basketball-esque with both teams looking for a decisive goal. With five minutes left City's urgency grew and even three rapid corners couldn't penetrate the home side's back line.
Hughes threw on Derbyshire in the final minutes, aiming for a repeat of his first touch goal against City here in the cup last season, but the Blues kept pushing for an equaliser.
And despite only three minutes of stoppage time and plenty of late pressure it was back-to-back 1-0 away defeats for Sven-Goran Eriksson's men.
FULL TIME: Rovers 1-0 City
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Elano - faded after a lively opening but still the most likely to have pulled City level. His clever feet will see better times for the Blues over the coming months.