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  Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Blackburn survive scare
Blackburn's players celebrate Thompson's opener
Blackburn's players celebrate Thompson's opener
CSKA Sofia 3-3 Blackburn
(Aggregate 4-4. Blackburn through on away goals)

E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Blackburn made it through to the second round of the Uefa Cup, but made life unnecessarily difficult for themselves against their Bulgarian opponents.

Graeme Souness's side looked to be coasting through when they took a 3-0 lead with just over half an hour to go.

Midfielder David Thompson, who has been a revelation since his 1.5m move to Rovers at the end of August, gave the visitors the lead with a spectacular 30-yard volley in the first half.

  Key incidents
30 mins: Thompson puts Blackburn ahead with a spectacular volley
56 mins: Ostenstad finishes after fine work from Tugay and Cole
58 mins: Duff adds a third with an angled shot.
66 mins: Gargarov heads one back for the hosts.
69 mins: Agnaldo scores a second for Sofia.
88 mins: Gargarov equalises with a penalty
90 mins: Dimitrov sent off
Egil Ostenstad and Damien Duff added further goals after the interval.

But lapses in defence allowed Sofia back from the abyss.

Emil Gargarov grabbed the first goal for the hosts when he headed in unmarked from eight yards.

Agnaldo then stole in front of his marker to guide a right-wing cross home from the edge of the six-yard box.

And Gargarov grabbed Sofia's equaliser, and his second goal, with a well-struck penalty two minutes from time that Brad Friedel got his hands to but could not stop squirming in.

The first-half was fiercely fought and chances were few and far between.

The outstanding Thompson went desperately close after 22 minutes with a curling free-kick from 20 yards.

The hosts appealed for a penalty when Henning Berg brought down Macdonald Mukasi on the edge of the area, but the referee waved play on.

Thompson then put the hosts ahead in spectacular fashion.

He took Ostenstad's header on his knee before unleashing a venomous, swerving volley past the despairing keeper.

The visitors added further goals in the second half to take a seemingly unassailable lead.

First Tugay thrust forward and slotted the ball to Andy Cole, who squared for Ostenstad to score from close range.

Then David Dunn fed Duff, who scored with a powerful left-footed drive from an acute angle.

But Sofia were allowed back into the game, Gargarov and then Agnaldo finding themselves unmarked in the area before heading right-wing crosses home.

Blackburn missed a glorious chance to give themselves breathing space when Duff passed rather than shot when one-on-one with the keeper.

And they were almost made to pay when Gargarov scored from the spot with two minutes to go.

But the visitors held on and were helped when Velizar Dimitrov was sent off after pushing Thompson to the floor at the death.


CSKA Sofia: Kolev, Antonov, Gueye, Galin Ivanov, Carlos, Charras, Yanchev, Petrov, Brito (Gargarov 61), Mukasi (Cordeiro Pereira 61), Dimitrov.
Subs not used: Ivaylo Ivanov, Varbanov, Zlatinov, Sakiri, Yanev.
Sent off: Dimitrov (90).
Booked: Carlos, Antonov.

Blackburn: Friedel, Taylor, Berg, Johansson, Neill, Thompson, Tugay (Gillespie 63), Dunn, Duff, Cole, Ostenstad.
Subs not used: Kelly, Todd, Grabbi, Hignett, Mahon, Danns.
Booked: Neill, Ostenstad. E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Connor McNamara reports
"Blackburn got the scare of their lives"
Blackburn assistant boss Tony Parkes
"We were glad to hear the final whistle"

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