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Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Monday, 25 April 2011 21:53 UK

Blackburn   0 - 1   Man City

Edin Dzeko

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Ewood Park

Edin Dzeko's first Premier League goal allowed Manchester City to take control of the battle for a place in next season's Champions League and plunge Blackburn Rovers deeper into relegation trouble.

Dzeko, who has struggled to make an impact since his £27m move from Wolfsburg in January, made the decisive contribution with the late winner three minutes after coming on as substitute to secure a priceless three points for Roberto Mancini's FA Cup finalists.

The Bosnian's goal saw City establish a firm grip on fourth place and open up a four-point gap on closest rivals Tottenham after a performance that relied more on resilience than sparkle at Ewood Park.

PHIL McNULTY'S BLOG

Struggling Blackburn had opportunities to take a point and showed commendable spirit despite their lowly league position, but they paid the price for missed chances and now stand only one point clear of the relegation places with four games remaining.

After Fernando Torres ended his barren scoring sequence since his £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea with a goal against West Ham United on Saturday, Dzeko chose the perfect moment to break his own duck and put daylight between City and Spurs.

Mancini reacted to the dismal defeat at Liverpool a fortnight ago by promising City would reach the FA Cup final and the Champions League. He has now moved a long way towards fulfilling those pledges with victory against Manchester United in the Wembley semi-final, followed by a win that could prove vitally important as they attempt to reach Europe's elite tournament.

The Italian saw no reason to change the side that was so impressive in reaching Wembley again - and that show of faith appeared fully justified by a blistering start.

David Silva, who was dictating affairs in those early exchanges, saw a left-footed shot ricochet across the face of goal after striking an upright and Michel Salgado rescued Blackburn with a clearance off the line from Gareth Barry's flicked header.

Slowly but surely, however, Blackburn managed to stem the tide and ended the half with a measure of control that looked highly unlikely when they were penned in their own territory for the first 20 minutes.

And they had a highly presentable penalty appeal rejected by referee Andre Marriner when Jason Roberts appeared to be fouled by City captain Vincent Kompany as they finally ventured into City's half.

Phil Jones and the giant figure of Christopher Samba were symbols of Rovers' recovery. And after Jones won a corner, Samba rose highest to head inches wide as suddenly it was City's turn to feel the pressure.

City attempted to regain that earlier control in the opening moments after the interval when Silva's cross found Yaya Toure at the far post and his header was turned over the top by Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson.

Blackburn had also gained confidence from their improvement and the stretching Jermaine Jones was frustrated to only find the side-netting after Roberts touched on Salgado's cross. Silva was also fortunate to get in the way of a thunderous drive from Samba as both sides fought to break the deadlock.

Mancini made the decisive change when he sent on Dzeko with 18 minutes left - and the striker finally started to repay some of the vast fee paid to Wolfsburg.

Phil Jones could only deflect Silva's shot into Dzeko's path 12 yards out and he demonstrated touch and composure before firing a finish high past Robinson to send City's massed ranks of fans into ecstasy.

Blackburn refused to give up the fight and had their chances to claim a point in a frantic closing spell. Phil Jones should have done better than head over the top from substitute Ruben Rochina's cross and in the closing seconds Hart did well to dive to his right to save Martin Olsson's long-range free-kick.

And Steve Kean's side, much to City's relief and the frustration of Ewood Park, had penalty appeals ignored once more by referee Marriner in injury time when substitute Nikola Kalinic went down under challenge from Barry.

City showed resilience to close out the victory and the celebrations from fans and players at the final whistle illustrated theimportance of these three points.

Live text and stats

 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Blackburn 0-1 Man City FT
(HT 0-0)
    • Dzeko 75

    Blackburn

    Substitutes

    Man City

    Substitutes

    Ref: MarrinerAtt: 23,529
    BLACKBURN
    MAN CITY

    Possession

    • Blackburn 46%
    • Man City 54%

    Attempts on target

    • Blackburn 6
    • Man City 5

    Attempts off target

    • Blackburn 6
    • Man City 5

    Corners

    • Blackburn 4
    • Man City 6

    Fouls

    • Blackburn 15
    • Man City 15
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+5:22 The referee brings the game to a close.
    • 90:00+4:48 Foul by Edin Dzeko on Michel Salgado, free kick awarded. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nikola Kalinic by Joleon Lescott. Martin Olsson fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save made by Joe Hart.
    • 90:00+1:57 Brett Emerton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Edin Dzeko. Indirect free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
    • 90:00+0:30 Foul by Jason Roberts on Joleon Lescott, free kick awarded. Joe Hart takes the free kick.
    • 89:00 The free kick is delivered left-footed by Ruben Rochina from right wing, clearance by Pablo Zabaleta.
    • 89:00 Substitution David Silva goes off and Dedryk Boyata comes on.
    • 89:00 The referee penalises Edin Dzeko for handball.
    • 86:25 Vincent Kompany gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts. The ball is sent over by Ruben Rochina, Phil Jones produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
    • 86:14 The ball is swung over by Martin Olsson, clearance made by Patrick Vieira.
    • 84:23 Nigel De Jong restarts play with the free kick.
    • 84:23 Substitution Mame Diouf joins the action as a substitute, replacing Gael Givet.
    • 84:23 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christopher Samba on Edin Dzeko.
    • 82:58 Substitution Patrick Vieira joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mario Balotelli.
    • 82:12 Ruben Rochina has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the goal.
    • 81:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts by Pablo Zabaleta. Free kick crossed right-footed by Brett Emerton, clearance by Pablo Zabaleta.
    • 74:05 David Silva provided the assist for the goal.
    • 74:05 GOAL - Edin DzekoBlackburn 0 - 1 Man City A goal is scored by Edin Dzeko from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Blackburn 0-1 Man City.
    • 74:04 The ball is crossed by David Silva,
    • 73:35 Foul by Nikola Kalinic on Vincent Kompany, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
    • 73:21 Aleksandar Kolarov takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
    • 71:27 Substitution Edin Dzeko replaces Adam Johnson.
    • 69:44 Aleksandar Kolarov restarts play with the free kick.
    • 69:44 Substitution Benjani Mwaruwari leaves the field to be replaced by Nikola Kalinic.
    • 69:44 Booking The referee books Brett Emerton for unsporting behaviour.
    • 69:36 Foul by Brett Emerton on Aleksandar Kolarov, free kick awarded.
    • 69:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nigel De Jong by Ruben Rochina. Gareth Barry restarts play with the free kick.
    • Correction - 68:28 Benjani Mwaruwari has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 68:28 Benjani Mwaruwari has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 67:52 David Silva has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.
    • 66:44 Corner taken left-footed by Ruben Rochina from the right by-line, save by Joe Hart.
    • 66:30 The ball is crossed by Michel Salgado, clearance made by Aleksandar Kolarov.
    • 66:01 Outswinging corner taken by Ruben Rochina from the left by-line played to the near post, Mario Balotelli makes a clearance.
    • 64:33 Nigel De Jong concedes a free kick for a foul on Ruben Rochina. Brett Emerton takes the free kick. Christopher Samba takes a shot. Blocked by David Silva.
    • 62:49 David Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christopher Samba. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 62:01 Substitution (Blackburn) makes a substitution, with Ruben Rochina coming on for David Dunn.
    • 60:47 Mario Balotelli challenges Phil Jones unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 60:32 The ball is sent over by Jermaine Jones, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
    • 59:04 Free kick crossed by David Dunn, Gnegneri Toure Yaya makes a clearance.
    • 59:04 Booking Nigel De Jong is booked.
    • 58:53 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel De Jong on Martin Olsson.
    • 57:39 The ball is delivered by Martin Olsson.
    • 56:42 Jason Roberts takes a shot. Comfortable save by Joe Hart.
    • 53:58 The ball is swung over by Martin Olsson.
    • 52:50 Pablo Zabaleta challenges Jason Roberts unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by David Dunn from left wing, save made by Joe Hart.
    • 52:27 Brett Emerton takes a shot. Blocked by Joleon Lescott.
    • 51:44 David Dunn delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
    • 51:44 Booking Mario Balotelli shown a yellow card.
    • 51:37 Mario Balotelli concedes a free kick for a foul on Gael Givet.
    • 50:06 Brett Emerton delivers the ball, Martin Olsson has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 49:49 The ball is swung over by Martin Olsson, clearance made by Aleksandar Kolarov.
    • 48:16 Aleksandar Kolarov delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Joleon Lescott gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Olsson. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 48:16 Booking Jermaine Jones is booked.
    • 48:09 Jermaine Jones concedes a free kick for a foul on Gnegneri Toure Yaya.
    • 47:45 Phil Jones sends in a cross, save by Joe Hart.
    • 46:54 Mario Balotelli gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Brett Emerton. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.
    • 46:16 Inswinging corner taken by Adam Johnson, Paul Robinson makes a save.
    • 45:59 David Silva crosses the ball, Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes a shot. Paul Robinson makes a brilliant save.
    • 45:46 Centre by Adam Johnson, Michel Salgado manages to make a clearance.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:16 It is the end of the first-half.
    • 45:00+0:16 Corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson from the left by-line, Gael Givet manages to make a clearance.
    • 44:53 The ball is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov.
    • 44:12 Gnegneri Toure Yaya delivers the ball, blocked by Phil Jones.
    • 43:19 The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson, save made by Paul Robinson.
    • 42:29 Joleon Lescott fouled by Benjani Mwaruwari, the ref awards a free kick. Joleon Lescott restarts play with the free kick.
    • 42:16 Effort on goal by Christopher Samba from 20 yards. Aleksandar Kolarov gets a block in.
    • 41:51 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by David Dunn, clearance made by Pablo Zabaleta.
    • 41:36 The ball is delivered by Jason Roberts, clearance made by Pablo Zabaleta.
    • 40:58 Brett Emerton concedes a free kick for a foul on Pablo Zabaleta. Indirect free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
    • 39:58 Michel Salgado delivers the ball, Close range header by Christopher Samba goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 39:01 Unfair challenge on Jason Roberts by Nigel De Jong results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by David Dunn, clearance made by Pablo Zabaleta.
    • 38:36 Right-footed shot by Mario Balotelli.
    • 38:14 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Adam Johnson.
    • 38:08 The ball is crossed by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance made by Michel Salgado.
    • 36:33 Brett Emerton sends in a cross.
    • 34:32 Corner taken right-footed by David Dunn from the left by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Christopher Samba misses to the right of the goal.
    • 29:25 David Dunn has an effort direct from the free kick, comfortable save by Joe Hart.
    • 29:25 Booking Gareth Barry receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 29:10 Unfair challenge on Martin Olsson by Gareth Barry results in a free kick.
    • 27:48 Foul by Brett Emerton on Gareth Barry, free kick awarded. Aleksandar Kolarov restarts play with the free kick.
    • 23:59 Aleksandar Kolarov takes the outswinging corner, Jermaine Jones manages to make a clearance.
    • 23:52 The ball is crossed by Aleksandar Kolarov, Christopher Samba manages to make a clearance.
    • 18:19 The ball is crossed by Adam Johnson, clearance made by Christopher Samba.
    • 16:36 Michel Salgado challenges David Silva unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Silva delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, Phil Jones makes a clearance. Adam Johnson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 15:56 Corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson to the near post, Gareth Barry takes a shot. Clearance made by Michel Salgado.
    • 15:49 The ball is sent over by Pablo Zabaleta, Phil Jones manages to make a clearance.
    • 14:54 Unfair challenge on David Silva by Brett Emerton results in a free kick. Aleksandar Kolarov restarts play with the free kick.
    • 13:42 David Silva sends in a cross, clearance made by Phil Jones.
    • 11:45 Gareth Barry challenges Martin Olsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
    • 11:34 Gnegneri Toure Yaya sends in a cross, Martin Olsson gets a block in.
    • 9:25 Effort on goal by Aleksandar Kolarov from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 9:02 The ball is swung over by Brett Emerton, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
    • 8:48 The ball is crossed by Aleksandar Kolarov, Christopher Samba makes a clearance.
    • 5:58 David Dunn challenges Mario Balotelli unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mario Balotelli shoots direct from the free kick, save made by Paul Robinson.
    • 4:50 The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson, clearance made by Christopher Samba.
    • 4:02 A cross is delivered by Pablo Zabaleta, clearance by Christopher Samba.
    • 3:11 Inswinging corner taken by Adam Johnson from the right by-line, clearance made by Christopher Samba.
    • Correction - 2:43 The ball is sent over by Mario Balotelli, David Silva takes a shot from just outaide the penalty box and strikes the post.
    • 2:43 The ball is crossed by Mario Balotelli, David Silva produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that bounces off the post.
    • 1:27 Foul by Benjani Mwaruwari on Nigel De Jong, free kick awarded. Nigel De Jong takes the free kick.
    • 0:15 Jermaine Jones concedes a free kick for a foul on David Silva. Nigel De Jong takes the free kick.
    • 0:00 The match gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Barclays Premier League results

    25 Apr 2011 23:59 UK


    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 25 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 34 39 73
    2 Chelsea 34 37 67
    3 Arsenal 34 31 64
    4 Man City 33 21 59
    5 Tottenham 33 8 55
    6 Liverpool 34 12 52
    7 Everton 34 5 47
    8 Bolton 33 4 46
    9 Newcastle 34 1 41
    10 Sunderland 34 -10 41
    11 Aston Villa 34 -12 41
    12 West Brom 34 -15 40
    13 Fulham 33 1 39
    14 Stoke 33 -3 39
    15 Birmingham 34 -17 38
    16 Blackburn 34 -15 35
    17 Blackpool 34 -22 34
    18 Wigan 34 -23 34
    19 Wolves 33 -20 33
    20 West Ham 34 -22 32

    see also
    Mancini delighted by Dzeko opener
    26 Apr 11 |  Premier League



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