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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Blackburn 2-0 Man City
Zurab Khizanishvili (l) celebrates putting Blackburn ahead with Brett Emerton
Zurab Khizanishvili (l) celebrates his goal with Brett Emerton
Manchester City suffered their ninth defeat in their last 10 Premiership games as they rounded off their season with a loss at Blackburn.

The visitors made the brighter start but fell behind when David James dropped Sergio Peter's corner and Zurab Khizanishvili gratefully slotted home.

Shefki Kuqi bundled in Brett Emerton's cross to extend Blackburn's lead.

City struggled to find a response even when Rovers had Kerimoglu Tugay sent off with half an hour to go.

Opposing managers Mark Hughes and Stuart Pearce could not have had a more different week in the build-up to this game.

Hughes' Blackburn beat champions Chelsea on Tuesday to clinch a Uefa Cup spot, while City boss Pearce saw his side lose to Arsenal on Thursday - a club record fifth successive home defeat.

Yet it was City who made the better start, with Joey Barton going close after nine ninutes when he exchanged passes with Darius Vassell and fired wide from the edge of the area.

Georgios Samaras and Kiki Musampa also threatened Brad Friedel's goal with headers but Blackburn held out.

Rovers had hardly created an opening of their own until James intervened to gift them the opener on 34 minutes.

The England goalkeeper rushed from his goal to claim Peter's outswinging corner but dropped the ball at the feet of Khizanishvili, who hooked the ball into the net.

City should have equalised almost immediately through Musampa but Friedel was at his best to turn away the Dutch midfielder's shot from close range after good work by Barton on the left.

And seven minutes after the interval Blackburn were further ahead.

Substitute Emerton ran clear down the right and he sent over a precise cross that Kuqi turned home from the edge of the six-yard box.

City were short of ideas as they attempted a fightback but their slim hopes were boosted when Tugay was dismissed for a wild lunge at Sommeil.

But instead it was Blackburn who came forward and Florent Sinama Pongolle and Michael Gray both should have done better with free headers in front of James' goal.

City simply petered out in the closing minutes - and their dismal finish to the season will give Pearce much to ponder over the next few months while Hughes looks forward to his first European campaign as a manager.

  • Blackburn manager Mark Hughes:
    "Today's performance typified our season as a whole - real determination allied with great skill.

    "The players were magnificent as they have been all year. It has been a season of hard work and achivement.

    "I demanded a performance out of the players and that is what I got. As a group they have been great to work with all season and we have enjoyed it."

  • Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce:
    "It has been a very poor run.

    "Everyone at this club is looking for a break from each other and I am aware of what needs to be done this summer.

    "Today we were as comfortable as anything in the first half until we gifted them a goal which knocked the stuffing out of us."

    Blackburn: Friedel, Mokoena (Emerton 12), Khizanishvili, Neill, Gray, Bentley, Savage, Tugay, Peter (Gallagher 80), Kuqi, Dickov (Sinama Pongolle 64).
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, McEveley.

    Sent Off: Tugay (59).

    Booked: Neill, Bentley.

    Goals: Khizanishvili 35, Kuqi 52.

    Man City: James, Sommeil, Dunne, Richards, Distin (Wright-Phillips 83), Sinclair (Croft 69), Barton, Reyna, Musampa (Riera 61), Samaras, Vassell.
    Subs Not Used: Weaver, Jihai.

    Booked: Distin, Richards, Sinclair, Dunne.

    Att: 25,731

    Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

    Sunday's football photos
    07 May 06 |  Photo Galleries


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