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banner Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 21:52 GMT
Rovers beat 10-man City
Blackburn's Damien Johnson
Damien Johnson scored late on to seal the win
Blackburn 2-0 Man City
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Blackburn stumbled into the last eight of the Worthington Cup after seeing off a spirited challenge from 10-man Manchester City.

The First Division visitors had new midfielder Christian Negouai sent off after just 25 minutes.

That should have been the signal for the Premier League side to cruise to a convincing win - but City just would not give in.

In Ali Benarbia and former Rovers loan star Eyal Berkovic they had the two most creative players on the pitch, and it was only goals in the dying minutes of each half that made life comfortable for the home side.

It was shocking refereeing. You have got to have some common sense, but he (Rennie) didn't have any
Kevin Keegan
City's cause was not helped when they lost skipper Stuart Pearce two minutes into the match, the veteran limping off with a leg strain.

Rushing block

City should have scored after 24 minutes when Huckerby's cross was dummied by Benarbia to leave Shaun Wright-Phillips all on his own 12 yards out on the right.

But the youngster's drive was met by a fine rushing block from Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel and the opportunity was lost.

A minute later referee Rennie turned the game on its head by showing the red card to Negouai.

Having booked the Frenchman's first foul, Rennie sent him off for a tug at Tugay's shirt on 25 minutes.

Blackburn struck a minute from the break when Nils-Eric Johansson found space on the left, tricked Gerard Wiekens and drilled a low drive across Carlo Nash and into the far bottom corner.

Nash produced a stunning save when substitute Egil Ostenstad's header had cannoned onto Lucien Mettomo and spun towards the top corner.

Darren Huckerby almost equalised with four minutes left with a run and cross-shot which went inches wide.

But three minutes into added time, Damien Johnson found space to rifle home Rovers' second goal but even that could not put a gloss on the Premiership side's display.

Blackburn: Friedel, Curtis, Taylor, Johansson, Tugay, Gillespie, Hignett, Dunn, Johnson, Duff, Hughes. Subs: Mahon, Ostenstad, Dunning, Greer, Kelly.

Man City: Nash, Mettomo, Negouai, Wiekens, Pearce, Dunne, Horlock, Benarbia, Berkovic, Huckerby, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Ritchie, Toure, Killen, Granville, Weaver.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).

BBC Sport's John Murray reports
"This was Blackburn's game from the moment City were reduced to ten men"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"It wasn't a great game"
Links to more Worthington Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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