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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Blackburn overpower Fulham
Blackburn's Hakan Sukur and Craig Short
Sukur scored for the first time in the Premiership
Fulham 0-4 Blackburn

Blackburn stepped up their chase for a Uefa Cup place by overpowering a lacklustre Fulham side as Hakan Sukur grabbed a brace.

David Dunn gave Blackburn the lead on 37 minutes and Sukur scored his first goal in English football five minutes later.

Soon after half-time, Blackburn added two more goals in the space of a couple of minutes as Damien Duff fired a shot past Maik Taylor and Sukur scored again with another consummate finish.

The victory put Blackburn three points behind Liverpool and four behind fifth-placed Everton as the Lancashire club look to qualify for the Uefa Cup for a second successive season.

Fulham dominated the opening passage of play, but once Dunn gave Blackburn the lead, the organisation of Jean Tigana's side simply fell apart.

KEY MOMENTS
37 mins: Dunn scores with the penalty
42 mins: Sukur bags his first Premiership goal
53 mins: Duff fires Blackburn further ahead
54 mins: Sukur grabs his second

The defeat - watched by Gianluca Vialli, the bookmakers' favourite to replace the Tigana - leaves Fulham seven points above third-from bottom West Ham.

After a tepid opening 30 minutes, a Steed Malbranque shot sparked a more ambitious approach from both sides.

The Fulham midfielder had been teed up by some good work from Jon Harley and Steve Marlet, but the French midfielder's shot was well saved by Brad Friedel.

Soon afterwards, exploiting the space left by the foraging Vratislav Gresko, Malbranque burst down the right and cut inside, only to undo his good work and blast his shot over the bar.

With Malbranque pulling the strings in the Fulham midfield, Tugay began to do the same for Blackburn, despite being booed every time he touched the ball - a reminder of the bad blood engendered by England's defeat of Turkey.

Fulham manager Jean Tigana
Tigana endured a miserable evening

Blackburn were awarded their penalty when Lee Clark handballed a Gary Flitcroft cross, moments after Andy Cole's fierce shot had been deflected on to the bar by Martin Djetou.

Just before the interval Blackburn went further ahead when Sukur exploited some lame defending from Steve Finnan to poke the ball past Taylor.

After the restart it did not take long for Blackburn to emphasise the gulf in superiority between the two teams.

On 53 minutes, after some good forward play for Andy Cole, Duff broke clear and then fired the ball past Taylor.

A minute later the Fulham defence again fell apart as Sukur was allowed the time and space to stroke the ball home.


Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Goma, Knight, Harley, Clark (Legwinski 61), Malbranque, Djetou, Boa Morte, Marlet (Hammond 61), Saha.
Subs Not Used: Herrera, Melville, Sava.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill (Taylor 55), Short, Berg, Gresko, Tugay (Gillespie 69), Flitcroft, Dunn, Duff, Sukur, Cole, Gillespie (Grabbi 90).
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Yorke.

Booked: Neill, Short.

Attendance: 14,017.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"We're obviously delighted"


Outgoing Fulham boss Jean Tigana
"I have to give 100% until the end of my contract"



FULHAM

BLACKBURN ROVERS

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