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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 September 2007, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Blackburn 1-0 Man City
By Paul Fletcher

Benni McCarthy celebrates scoring for Blackburn
McCarthy scored his first league goal of the season
Benni McCarthy scored the only goal as Blackburn deservedly beat Manchester City at a sodden Ewood Park.

McCarthy struck from close range in the first-half after Kasper Schmeichel parried a header from Roque Santa Cruz.

The ball twice struck the City woodwork, Rovers missed several openings and Schmeichel made several saves as the home team dominated.

Blackburn's Tugay then City skipper Dunne saw red in the second half after picking up two yellow cards apiece.

Rovers are now unbeaten in eight league and cup games this season - and on the basis of their showing at Ewood Park it is easy to see why.

Mark Hughes' team played with great commitment to defend when not in possession but created lots of chances when on the ball. City, after starting the season with three straight Premier League victories, have now lost their last two league games.

The honeymoon period is well and truly over for Sven-Goran Eriksson, who must have been disappointed with the way his team were largely outplayed by a nonetheless very decent Blackburn side.

On a wet, skiddy surface both teams played some crisp, flowing football and City's Martin Petrov forced a good save with a crisply-struck left-foot shot from 25 yards that had Brad Freidel at full stretch.

But in the main it was Blackburn who crafted the decent chances, to the extent that Eriksson made a tactical change after just 32 minutes in replacing Michael Johnson with Emile Mpenza to try to give his team more attacking threat.

Rovers first decent chance resulted in their opening goal.

Schmeichel made a decent parry from Santa Cruz's header but was powerless to stop McCarthy slotting home the rebound from close range.

A superbly flighted free-kick was headed just over by David Dunn, while a series of corners further exposed City's frailty at defending aerial balls.

Rolando Bianchi and Dunne both hit the City woodwork in the space of a couple of seconds as they tried to defend a Mortem Gamst Pedersen corner.

City appealed for a penalty before the break for a challenge on Bianchi but referee Mike Dean was not interested and it was the home team who took their fully deserved advantage into the break.

Indeed Pedersen might have ensured that Blackburn had a lead commensurate with their dominance of the opening 45 minutes but his shot was saved by Schmeichel in first-half injury time after another crisp move had carved open City yet again.

After their limp first-half showing City looked to assert themselves on the contest after the break and were aided by the dismissal of Rovers substitute Tugay after 54 minutes.

The veteran midfielder was a first-half replacement for the injured Robbie Savage, who limped off after failing to recover from a clattering Dunne challenge.

But Tugay was booked twice in the space of three minutes, first for tugging Mpenza's shirt and then for needlessly impeding Dietmar Hamann.

City only enjoyed their numerical advantage for 10 minutes, with Dunne dismissed after fouling the excellent Santa Cruz as the Paraguayan tried to close in on a low cross from Brett Emerton.

And it was Blackburn who continued to threaten, with a Pedersen free-kick deflecting wide off Elano and Chris Samba heading over the subsequent corner with Schmeichel stranded.

Brett Emerton was the next to threaten, profiting from superb approach work by Stephen Warnock and Santa Cruz, but his strike across goal was saved.

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We were about about our business of getting at them from the start to the finish.

    "Our passing was incisive, and we caused them a lot of problems.

    "Tugay is disappointed with himself for his sending off for two silly bookings, but his team-mates rallied round and made sure we got the points."

  • Man City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson:
    "We passed the ball nicely, but we were nice without ever being dangerous.

    "We expected a hard, tough physical game, but it wasn't like that, and despite a red card for each team it wasn't a dirty game.

    "The rules are severe on things like shirt-pulling, and I suppose the referee was right with both of them."

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Savage (Kerimoglu 17), Dunn, Pedersen, Santa Cruz (Derbyshire 86), McCarthy (Ooijer 63).
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Roberts.

    Sent Off: Kerimoglu (54).

    Booked: Dunn, Kerimoglu, Pedersen, Bentley, Samba.

    Goals: McCarthy 13.

    Man City: Schmeichel, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ireland (Onuoha 70), Johnson (Mpenza 32), Hamann, Petrov (Geovanni 76), Elano, Bianchi.
    Subs Not Used: Hart, Ball.

    Sent Off: Dunne (65).

    Booked: Dunne.

    Att: 26,881

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

    Sunday's football photos
    02 Sep 07 |  Football


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