Manchester City 3 Blackburn 1

Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 2 May 2009, 15:00 KO

City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Kompany, de Jong, Ireland, Elano (Petrov 78), Robinho, Caicedo (Bojinov 61)
Unused: Hart, Garrido, Gelson, Berti, Evans
Goals: Caicedo (26), Robinho (33), Elano (pen 45)
Booked: Caicedo, de Jong
City Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

Blackburn started the game the better side, pinning City into their own box for the opening few minutes. But, despite a few Pedersen long throws and Samba headers, the visitors couldn’t muster a shot on goal.

With 20 minutes on the clock and the game looking like it was going to be a stalemate, Vince Grella curled an effort on Given’s goal, but the Irish goalkeeper was alert and able to hold the shot under pressure from McCarthy.

It seemed to give City a kick up the backside and the home side began to get their foot on the ball. The home fans were wondering what both Tugay and Diouf had to do to be shown a yellow card, when both flattened Stephen Ireland four minutes apart, after the ball had gone.

Then, on 26 minutes, an Elano corner caused havoc in the Rovers box. The ball fell to Kompany’s feet, who slid the ball wide to Onuoha. The big centre-back’s shot was deflected to a clearly onside Caicedo, who took a touch and slotted the ball into the corner. He earned a booking for taking off his shirt in celebration.

And just as Blackburn were hoping to get back into the game, Robinho put them further behind. Kompany nodded the ball down to him, and, after a touch, he curled the ball past Robinson, with the former England keeper left standing.

Benni McCarthy could have made it interesting, after getting up well to a Diouf cross, but his header landed on the roof of City’s net.

And just as the City fans were preparing for a 2-0 half time lead, it got better. Gael Givet accidentally handled the ball when tackling Ireland in the box and, after three yellow cards for Blackburn players’ dissent, Elano stepped up to confidently slot the penalty home.

With City well in control of the game, the second half was just a formality. It wasn’t surprising that the game petered to a close, with Blackburn rarely threatening and City content with three goals.

Christopher Samba had a shot blocked by Nigel de Jong when he was free in the box, before a Carlos Villanueva free kick deflected off Richards and looped onto the roof of the net.

Blackburn were given a ray of hope after Nedum Onuoha was adjudged to have brought down Morten Gamst-Pedersen in the box. Shay Given saved the penalty from Diouf and the rebound, but he could only present an unmissable opportunity to Keith Andrews, from two yards.

But the best that both sides could muster after that were a few half chances, with Given coming to claim several long kicks by Robinson and the Blackburn defence clearing crosses from Petrov and Richards.

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