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  Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 16:58 GMT
Cole strike stuns Spurs
Blackburn striker Andy Cole
Cole on target for Blackburn in the final
Blackburn 2-1 Tottenham
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Blackburn lifted the Worthington Cup for the first time and booked themselves a Uefa Cup spot next season with a deserved win over Tottenham at the Millennium Stadium.

Matt Jansen gave Rovers the lead, before Christian Ziege restored parity for Spurs in the first half.

But Andy Cole scored the winner with 22 minutes remaining to give Blackburn their first cup triumph for 74 years in what was a thrilling encounter.

Tottenham will feel aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty in the dying seconds when Teddy Sheringham was brought down in the area.

And Brad Friedel made several outstanding saves to thwart Spurs.

  Key incidents
25 mins: Matt Jansen squeezes the ball through Neil Sullivan's legs
33 mins: Christian Ziege equalises from Les Ferdinand's pass across six-yard box
68 mins: Andy Cole restores Blackburn's lead after a Ledley King error

But victory was no less than Graeme Souness' side merited for a determined display - and on the day they showed the greater hunger - that should serve them well in their battle for Premiership survival.

Ziege, a Worthington Cup winner with Liverpool last season, set the tone for a pulsating first half.

We are a small club and they are a big club - it is great for us
Blackburn Rovers boss Graeme Souness

His curling right-foot shot on five minutes went just over Friedel's crossbar.

Spurs relied on the pace of Les Ferdinand in attack and he should really have given his side the lead early on.

A defence-splitting pass from Gustavo Poyet left Nils-Eric Johansson in no-man's land for Blackburn.

Ferdinand surged forward and looked certain to score. But Friedel stood his ground well to get a hand to the ball and deny the Spurs striker.

Blackburn striker Matt Jansen celebrates scoring the opener
Jansen snapped up his chance

Tottenham would be made to pay for Ferdinand's profligacy as Blackburn seized the initiative after weathering Spurs' early storm.

Keith Gillespie's deflected shot fell kindly to Jansen in the area, and the Blackburn striker squeezed the ball through Neil Sullivan's legs.

But Blackburn's lead was short-lived, as Ferdinand atoned for his earlier error by setting up Ziege for the simplest of equalisers.

Both keepers kept their sides' in the game before the break, Sullivan making two smart saves to first deny Damien Duff and then Cole.

At the other end, Friedel made a superb point-blank stop from a powerful Ferdinand header.

After the interval, the attacking momentum was resumed.

Tottenham striker Les Ferdinand
Ferdinand: Guilty of a glaring miss

David Dunn dictated the midfield for Blackburn, but Sheringham - so often Spurs' inspiration - was unusually out of sorts.

However, Poyet almost gave Tottenham the advantage against the run of play.

A defensive error by Henning Berg gave Poyet sight of goal. The Uruguyuan struck a sweet right-foot shot which hit the angle of the crossbar.

While the emphasis of the game was based firmly on attack, poor defending undermined the overall quality.

A calamitous mistake by Ledley King, after good pressure from Jansen, allowed Cole his third real chance, two fewer than Glenn Hoddle's assertion that the striker needed five to score.

And the former Manchester United player duly hooked the ball past Sullivan to restore Blackburn's lead.

Blackburn finished the game in the ascendancy, while Spurs never really managed to reproduce the fine form that had taken them to the final.

Blackburn: Friedel, Taylor, Berg, Johansson, Bjornebye, Gillespie (Hignett 77), Dunn, Hughes, Duff, Jansen (Yordi 74), Cole.
Subs Not Used: Miller, Curtis, Mahon.

Tottenham: Sullivan, Perry, King, Thatcher, Taricco (Davies 79), Anderton, Sherwood, Poyet (Iversen 84), Ziege, Sheringham, Ferdinand.
Subs Not Used: Keller, Rebrov, Gardner.
Booked: Sherwood, Taricco, Ziege.

Att: 72,500

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"There were so many chances"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"We deserved it"
Blackburn's match winner Andy Cole
"This is all about the fans"
Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle
"We could have played better"

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24 Feb 02 | Football

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