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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 14:43 UK

Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham

By Phil Dawkes

Andre Ooijer scores
Ooijer's goal was only his second for the club since joining in 2006

A late goal from substitute Andre Ooijer grabbed an unlikely win for relegation-threatened Blackburn against 10-man Tottenham.

Robbie Keane controversially put Spurs ahead from the penalty spot after Gael Givet was adjudged to have handled.

Wilson Palacios was sent off for two bookable offences and Benni McCarthy soon dragged Rovers level.

With two minutes remaining, the visitors failed to clear an El-Hadji Diouf corner, leaving Ooijer to tap in.

It was imperative for Blackburn that they stole a march on their relegation rivals with a victory in this early kick-off, regardless of how deserved the win may be.

Tottenham's form going into the game - the best in the Premier League - had given them an outside chance of securing a Europa League spot, but they can surely now write off such aspirations.

The pressure inherent with the very different end-of-season challenges facing each side was evident in their respective styles of play.

Samba key to victory - Allardyce

The home side were hurried, direct and forceful and the first chance of the match was a testimony to these battling qualities as Morten Gamst Pedersen hung over a deep cross from the left and Diouf outmuscled Benoit Essou-Akotto but could only head wide.

Shortly after, Christopher Samba's, bullying presence in the Tottenham box created another chance for Diouf but this time his effort was blocked.

In contrast, Spurs were more relaxed and purposeful in possession, fluent in movement and happy to wait for opportunities to exploit Blackburn.

Paul Robinson, playing against his former club, rescued his current employers after 17 minutes when Palacios fed Darren Bent in the box with a clear view of goal but Robinson was equal to the shot, palming it away one-handed.

When the breakthrough did come it was shrouded in controversy, as referee Peter Walton gave Spurs a penalty after Aaron Lennon's attempted cross struck the arm of Givet in the box, with the defender seemingly attempting to get his arm out of the way.


The linesman gave no indication that he felt a penalty was deserved but Walton did and Keane made generous use of the penalty spot in placing the ball before slotting home to Robinson's right.

The incident drew passionate reactions from the Blackburn fans and from Rovers manager Sam Allardyce - mostly aimed at the fourth official - but not from the home players and the away side finished the half in the ascendancy.

With his side trailing it seemed strange that Allardyce would opt to replace injured striker Jason Roberts with defender Ooijer, but it was stranger still to see centre-back Samba start the second half up front for the home side.

The unsubtle intent behind the move was clear and it almost played immediate dividend when Samba knocked down to Diouf but the resulting strike was misdirected over the bar.

Tottenham weathered this initial assault and regained their grip on the game.

'Farcical' red card infuriates Redknapp

However, for all their possession they created little of worth and while the difference remained only a single goal, Blackburn - for all their lack of creative spark - were never out of the contest.

This fact was devastatingly emphasised to Tottenham in the match's final 10 minutes.

Firstly, the visitors were controversially reduced to 10 men when Palacios received his second booking for a foul on Blackburn substitute David Dunn.

Barely two minutes later, Rovers capitalised on their numerical advantage.

The physical strength of Samba was too much for Jonathan Woodgate and the Frenchman's cross found McCarthy, who tapped in from eight yards.

With a minute remaining, Blackburn completed the turnaround as Diouf's corner was poorly dealt with by the Spurs defence and Ooijer was presented with an open net, two yards out and he duly sealed a vital three points for his side.

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:

"It was desire, a bit of determination, overcoming adversity, never giving up, never saying die - which I don't think we've done since I've been here.

"It probably was one of our lesser performances but that doesn't matter; it's all about results.

"I'm sure Tottenham will feel the sending off is a bit harsh. But we overcome a bit of adversity in the penalty decision."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:

"I've got to say the referee made a big mistake sending Wilson off.

"We'd dominated the game and I couldn't see them scoring a goal if they'd played all night when we had 11.

"But to lose a midfield player who had probably been our biggest player today gave them a massive lift. From a game we had complete control of we've come away with nothing...unbelievable."

Blackburn: Robinson, Andrews, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Diouf, Mokoena (Kerimoglu 63), Warnock, Pedersen (Dunn 26), Roberts (Ooijer 46), McCarthy.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Villanueva, Treacy, Olsson.

Booked: Samba.

Goals: McCarthy 82, Ooijer 89.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Zokora 83), Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Bent, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson, Chimbonda.

Sent Off: Palacios (80).

Booked: Palacios.

Goals: Keane 30 pen.

Att: 21,891

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Robbie Keane 7.76 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Blackburn Rovers Player Rater
19 Jan 07 |  Live Text

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