Blackburn v Man City, Premier League, Easter Monday - Manchester City FC

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Eding and Zabba Celebrate Blackburn
  • Blackburn Rovers

    Rovers 0

  • Manchester City

    City 1

    Dzeko 75

  • Matchday centre
  • Match reports
  • 25 April 2011 22:14
  • Posted by Peter Ferguson

Edin Dzeko could hardly have picked a better night to bury his Premier League hoodoo with the long-awaited goal at Ewood Park that strengthened City's Champions League claims.

The former Wolfsburg striker's struggle finally ended after nine barren matches with the winner that gives Roberto Mancini's fourth-placed team a four-point cushion over rivals Tottenham.

No wonder Mancini and his right-hand man Brian Kidd, a former Blackburn manager, hugged in a jig of celebration on the touchline when Dzeko struck three minutes after stepping off the bench.

The Bosnian's former Bundesliga boss Steve McClaren, who has loyally championed his cause through his goal drought, was also there to see Dzeko break his League duck following just four cup goals.

Dzeko was coolness personified when David Silva's drive was cleared in his direction, taking one touch before steering the ball between keeper and near post to send the travelling army wild.

There was plenty of relief as they celebrated City's first away League win since Boxing Day, because relegation-haunted Blackburn had given as good as they got once they had weathered the early storm from the buoyant visitors.
City started like a house on fire, exuding all the confidence you would expect from a team that had just reached the FA Cup Final by beating their fiercest rivals at Wembley.

The early signs were good when Blackburn's defence could only stand and admire as Gareth Barry brought down the ball for David Silva to plant a shot against Paul Robinson's right-hand post.

And there were barely ten minutes on the clock when Aleks Kolarov showed he was in the mood for goals with a clever dipper effort that dipped suddenly but too late to go in the far corner.

Michel Salgado had to come to Rovers' rescue when he cleared off the line at the far post as Barry sent in a powerful glancing header from a corner

But Blackburn caught their breath and fought their way back into the game. Barry was booked for a linebacker's block on Martin Olsson and Vincent Kompany escaped a penalty claim by Jason Roberts.

Mario Balotelli, working hard and at one point dropping surprisingly deep to win possession, smacked in a potential scoring shot that defender Gael Givet managed to prevent reaching its target.

But the real threat for Joe Hart was Chris Samba, and the big centre-half, who has relished an emergency striking role in the past, looped a super header just beyond City's far post.

Toure had the chance to put City into the lead a minute into the second half, but his far-post header from Silva's centre was too close to Robinson, who pawed the ball from under his bar.

Yaya's reward for an industrious performance was to be taken out from behind by Jermaine Jones, who was later joined in the book by Balotelli for an unnecessary challenge from behind.

Jason Roberts had Blackburn's best chance of the game on 50 minutes but badly miscued a free header with City's defence for once flat-footed, and Olsson was so surprised he stabbed the ball wide.

As the tension mounted Nigel de Jong was next to see the yellow card, though his full-blooded lunge at Olsson did not actually make contact with the raiding Rovers defender.

Then with 18 minutes left, Mancini sent on Dzeko ... and the complexion of the game soon changed.

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Match details

Monday 25 April 2011, 8:00PM

Barclays Premier League

Andre Marriner


Blackburn Rovers:

Robinson; Salgado, Samba, P Jones, J Jones; Givet, Emerton, Dunn (Rochina, 63), Olsen; Benjani (Kalinic, 70), Roberts

Unused subs:
Bunn, Formica, Pedersen, Hanley, Diouf

J Jones, Emerton

Manchester City:

Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; De Jong, Barry; Silva (Boyata, 90), Yaya Toure, Adam Johnson (Dzeko, 72); Balotelli (Vieira, 84)

Unused subs:
Taylor, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Jo

Barry, Balotelli, De Jong

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.

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