Thriller Draw at Ewood
Manchester United sealed their 19th Champions Trophy, after a late Wayne Rooney penalty cancelled out an early Brett Emerton volley, earning both teams a point, and clawing Rovers just that little bit closer to safety.
Blackburn welcomes Phil Jones and Michel Salgado back into the starting 11, with manager Steve Kean sending out a 4-4-2 formation
Salgado, P Jones, Samba, Givet
Emerton, J Jones, Nzonzi, Olsson
United began the fixture as a team on a mission, aiming to wrap up the title early, and make changes in the following fixture, allowing their star players to rest for the Champions League. The game could have been all but over after only a few minutes, after a well directed cross was headered into the crossbar from point blank range by Nani. United moved the ball well, but did not have it all their own way in the early exchanges
Chris Samba blasted high after a loose ball following a Brett Emerton corner found its way into his path. Kuszczak almost gifted Roberts a 'Kalinic' type goal, the keeper's first touch dropping just out of reach of the veteran Rovers striker.
The moment Rovers fans were all waited for came 20 minutes in. Emerton's flightful chip was tipped wide by Kuszczak, Olsson scrambling to keep the ball in play. An exchange with Hoillet saw the ball zipped back into the box, with Emerton's left foot volley finding the back of the net, awakening the Ewood faithful, 1-0.
Rovers almost made it 2-0 minutes later, Olsson pouncing to volley a Salgado cross, flashing just wide of the near post. Manchester decided to up the tempo, with Wayne Rooney being the main point of attack. He often drifted wide to collect the ball, before darting into the box, however the Rovers back 4 were up to the task, ensuring Blackburn held onto a 1-0 lead at the break
It was an intense, physical start to the opening quarter of the second half. Neither team gave away space in midfield, both looking to hit on the counter. Giggs tried his luck from distance, but Jones put his body on the line, nullifying the shot.
Rovers almost sealed the deal with 20 minutes to go. A delightful interchange down the right flank saw Brett Emerton cross in, with Martin Olsson leaping highest. His powerful header left keeper Kuszczak stranded, though the near post was up to the task, battering the ball away...
Rovers were left to rue the missed opportunity only minutes later. A long ball found Chicarito free, and with Paul Robinson approaching, Chicarito poked the ball ahead, the English Keeper making contact and bringing him down. Referee Phil Down, after speaking to his linesman, ruled a penalty after attaining the ball was still in play when Chicarito was fouled. Rooney stepped up, and broke the hearts of the home crowd, sealing Uniteds 19th league win...1-1
The final 10 minutes was an embarressment to the game. Manchester, with the title in the bag, held the ball in their half, whilst Rovers, who would of settled for a point prior to the game, failed to mount any pressure...
1-1 Full Time
Super, super performance yet again from the young man. Steps up against the big boys, shutting down Rooney and Chicarito
Paul Robinson 6
Michel Salgado 8
Chris Samba 8
Phil Jones 9
Gael Givet 7
Brett Emerton 9
Jermaine Jones 8
Martin Olsson 8
Junior Hoillet 7
Jason Roberts 7
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