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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Blackburn slump in Turkey
Rovers struggled in Turkey
Genclerbirligi 3-1 Blackburn

Blackburn are in danger of going out of the Uefa Cup at the first round stage after a defeat at Genclerbirligi.

They will head to Ewood Park for the second leg needing to score at least two goals and produce a much improved performance.

Rovers were second best for much of the game against their Turkish opponents and fell two goals behind to late first-half strikes from Josip Skoko and Souleymane Youla.

They grabbed a goal back from Brett Emerton in the second period but Youla soon restored his side's two-goal advantage.

Mustafa Ozkan could have put Genclerbirligi ahead inside 10 minutes when he was presented with a free header six yards out, but his effort went straight at Brad Friedel.

Rovers responded with Matt Jansen firing in a left-foot shot that was just off the mark and a Vratislav Gresko free-kick flashing just wide.

Youla's pace was a constant threat for the Blackburn defence while hesitancy at the back by Friedel caused his defence some nervous moments.

42 mins: Josip Skoko scores a wonder goal for Genclerbirligi
43 mins: Souleymane Youla leaves Blackburn shell-shocked
57 mins: Brett Emerton reduces the deficit
60 mins: Youla gets his second of the game
Despite their worries at the back Blackburn looked dangerous going forward, and Dino Baggio almost marked his first start with a goal as he caught a half-volley from just outside the area that Gokhan Tokgoz did well to hold.

Without the injured Garry Flitcroft and ineligible Barry Ferguson, Blackburn conceded too much possession in midfield.

Genclerbirligi were consequently allowed to camp in the Rovers half, and when Abdul El Saka was allowed room to cross Deniz Baris should have done better than head wide of the near post.

The Turks went even closer moments later when Serkan Balci found himself unmarked in the area but his header clipped the top of the bar.

It was little surprise when the home side went in front, although the manner of the goal was somewhat out of the blue.

Friedel came out of his box to head the ball clear but when it fell to the feet of Skoko he managed to find the net with a perfectly placed half-volley from 40 yards out.

The goal failed to awaken Blackburn and Youla beat the offside trap soon after and lashed home the second.

Souness brought Andy Cole off the bench for the second half and he brilliantly set up Emerton for a goal 12 minutes after the break.

Cole swivelled to beat two defenders and, when Tokgoz came out, poked the ball into the path of Emerton to side-foot home.

But their comeback lasted just three minutes as Youla left Lorenzo Amoruso for dead to run onto a ball over the top and calmly slotted past Friedel.

Rovers had a late chance to grab a second but Corrado Grabbi shot over, and Souness's side have it all to do in the second leg.

Genclerbirligi: Tokgoz, Daems, El Saka, Ozkan, Youla, Bozkurt, Skoko, Tandogan, Mercimek, Baris, Balci. Subs: Botonjic, Ozbey, Akin, Basturk, M'Bayo, Cihan, Karaman .

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Amoruso, Babbel, Gresko, Emerton, Tugay, Baggio, Thompson, Jansen, Yorke. Subs: Kelly, Martin Taylor, Cole, Reid, Johansson, Gallagher, Grabbi.

Referee: Paolo Vertini (Italy)

BBC Sport's Ian Dennis
"Blackburn were out of sorts"

Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"In the first half we were very poor"

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