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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Wisla Krakow 1-2 Blackburn
By John May

Blackburn's David Bentley
Bentley's winner puts Blackburn in a strong position in Group E
David Bentley's last-minute goal got Blackburn's Uefa Cup Group E campaign off to an impressive start against Wisla Krakow in Poland.

Bentley followed up to score after Wisla keeper Emilian Dolha saved from Jason Roberts and Shabani Nonda.

Early in the second half, Robbie Savage levelled for Rovers after Wisla took a 28th minute lead when Mauro Cantor's shot was deflected past Brad Friedel.

Savage rose to plant home a well-placed header from Bentley's cross.

Wisla's record this season hinted they were not to be taken lightly - unbeaten table-toppers of the Polish League, having conceded just five goals.

Blackburn had the first hint of a chance when Benni McCarthy tested Dolha from a tight angle.

There was defensive work for Rovers to do when Jakub Blaszczykowski tricked his way past Lucas Neill to whip in a low cross which might have been more dangerous had Wisla committed more players forward.


Blackburn screamed for a penalty when Neill burst into the box and appeared to be cynically checked by Marcin Baszczynski, but Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson saw nothing in it.

The visitors should have taken the lead when Brett Emerton's deep cross found Morten Gamst Pedersen unmarked at the far post but he slashed a his volley wide.

Savage and Tugay produced their normal industry to negate Wisla's extra man in midfield and the Poles found it hard to create anything from open play.

Wisla took the lead in cruel fashion for Blackburn.

Emerton's clearing header from a corner fell to Cantoro, who was allowed him to fire in a shot which deflected off Tugay to wrong-foot Friedel.

Robbie Savage places his header for Blackburn's equaliser
Savage rises to place his header home

Savage almost provided an instant riposte with a left-foot shot which was clawed away from the top corner by Dolha.

Rovers emerged positively for the second half and Nonda was denied by a great point-blank save by Dolha after the DR Congo striker picked his way into a shooting position.

Blackburn's enterprise and effort was rewarded when they equalised on 56 minutes, Savage placing an accurate header out of Dolha's reach after Bentley's cross picked him out.

Savage's well-timed runs continued to take him into dangerous positions and when he was found by Nonda his shot deflected off a defender but fell kindly into Dolha's arms.

Wisla were increasingly limited to breaks but Friedel showed good concentration to save as Jean Paulista's pace took him clear of Andre Ooijer.

Blackburn's strong finish was rewarded with a late winner from Bentley, who followed up to score after keeper Dolha performed miracles to save from substitute Roberts and Nonda.

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We're delighted to have won - everyone understands that if you get something from away games you have a good chance of going through.

    "They made it difficult but we felt we had the quality to create the chances.

    "It's too early to say that we're already through but it's a good start, nothing more."

    Wisla Krakow: Dolha, Baszczynski, Dudka, Cleber, Mijailovic, Blaszczykowski, Sobolewski, Cantoro, Zienczuk (Piotr Brozek 66), Jean Paulista, Radovanovic (Kryszalowicz 83).
    Subs Not Used: Pawelek, Thwaite, Stolarczyk, Varga, Penksa.

    Booked: Radovanovic, Zienczuk, Cantoro.

    Goals: Cantoro 28.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Ooijer, Emerton, Pedersen (Roberts 74), Savage (Mokoena 87), Kerimoglu, Bentley, Nonda, McCarthy.
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Todd, Jeffers, McEveley, Gray.

    Booked: Nonda, Kerimoglu, Ooijer.

    Goals: Savage 56, Bentley 90.

    Att: 14,000.

    Ref: Stefan Johannesson (Sweden).

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