Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester City  0 - 1


Mancini out to maintain momentum

26 April 2011 01:12

Manager Roberto Mancini said he believes Manchester City can finish higher than fourth place on the table after his side's 1-0 win over Blackburn.

January Bosnian signing Edin Dzeko opened his English Premier League account with an effort in the latter stages of the second half to send his side four points clear of Tottenham in fourth place, edging City closer to securing a Champions League berth next term.

But the Italian boss hinted he might not be content with fourth place, as he eyed off passing rivals Chelsea (second) and Arsenal (third) in their remaining five matches despite trailing the two London sides by eight and five points respectively.

"If Chelsea lose all their games and we win we can arrive in second position. But I think that it is very difficult," Mancini told Sky Sports.

"Now, after this game (against Blackburn), I think that we should think about Sunday's game against West Ham because it will be very, very hard like this evening."

Mancini said he felt the 1-0 result flattered the hosts at Ewood Park.

"I think that in the first half we played a fantastic game," he said.

"We should have scored two goals - minimum. But in this period I think that all the games are very difficult."

"In the second half the game changed because Blackburn played very hard and we fought with them for every ball."

Blackburn manager Steve Kean lambasted the refereeing in the loss, saying his side could have been awarded two penalties and that Dzeko's goal should have been disallowed for offside.

"There was contact (for the first-half penalty appeal), Jason (Roberts) was saying he wanted to go through and finish," Kean said.

"We also thought we had a late (penalty) shout with Niko Kalinic."

"On the goal, (Mario) Balotelli was right in front of Paul Robinson so I'm saying that was offside."


Premier League: Blackburn 0 Manchester City 1

25 April 2011 23:17

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scored his first English Premier League as his side edged Blackburn 1-0 at Ewood Park on Monday.

The 27 million-pound January signing from Wolfsburg scored a 76th-minute winner three minutes after coming off the bench, sending City four points clear of nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur and greatly bolstering their Champions League qualification claims.

Defeat leaves Blackburn without a win in 11 games and deep in relegation trouble, just a point above the drop zone with games away to sides below them still to come.

Rovers were without loan striker Roque Santa Cruz, who was ineligible to play against his parent club, while Blues boss Roberto Mancini stuck with the side that triumphed in the FA Cup semi-final showdown over neighbours United on April 17.

And City took the confidence from that victory into the game, dominating the early exchanges and slamming the post with a vicious David Silva volley from 20 yards in just the third minute.

Striker Mario Balotelli then tested Paul Robinson with a 25-yard free-kick and Michel Salgado was needed to clear off the line from a Gareth Barry flick as a goal looked increasingly inevitable.

But Blackburn fought their way back into the game and almost broke the deadlock themselves in the 40th minute, when captain Christopher Samba's far-post header drifted inches wide.

They went even closer after the break as Brett Emerton's cross found its way to Martin Olsson at the far post, but the Swede smashed his volley into the side netting from six yards out.

Rovers had come out for the second half a different side and City goalkeeper Joe Hart had to be alert to half-chances for Benjani and David Dunn.

But they fell behind in the 75th minute on a rare second-half City attack when Barry broke down the left and pulled the back for Silva.

The Spanish attacker's shot was deflected into the patch of Dzeko, who steadied and fired home from eight yards.

Rovers threw everything forward in search of an equaliser and star man Phil Jones went closest with a header just over the bar.

And in a desperate fifth minute of injury time, Olsson hit a thumping 30-yard free-kick that Hart dived full length to keep out.


Premier League preview: Blackburn v Manchester City

22 April 2011 12:29

Manchester City are eyeing the Champions League while Blackburn are hoping for survival when the two sides meet at Ewood Park on Monday.

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City outfit are in fourth place in the English Premier League, eight points behind third-placed Arsenal and two points clear of Spurs in the race for the all-important Champions League qualifying place.

Despite a 3-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield in their most recent league match, City enjoyed a memorable 1-0 win over bitter rivals Manchester United last Saturday in a spiteful FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Steve Kean's Blackburn, however, are a team on the slide - without a win from their past nine league games - leaving them in 16th position, just two points clear of the relegation zone.

In their most recent game they suffered a 2-0 loss to Everton at Goodison, but on the plus side they are unbeaten at Ewood Park since Boxing Day.

In their only other meeting this season City came from behind at the City of Manchester Stadium to claim a 1-1 draw when Patrick Vieira cancelled out Nikola Kalinic's opener for the visitors.

Both managers have selection headaches ahead of Monday's game.

Kean's on-loan striker Roque Santa Cruz is ineligible to face his parent club while midfielder Steven N'Zonzi is suspended.

Defender Ryan Nelsen (knee), midfielders Vince Grella (Achilles) and Keith Andrews (groin), plus winger David Hoilett (hamstring) are all unavailable for Blackburn.

For City, top scorer Carlos Tevez is still doubtful with a hamstring injury, while Jerome Boateng and goalkeeper Shay Given are also injured.

Micah Richards is still troubled by a hamstring complaint and Kolo Toure is sidelined because of a club-imposed suspension.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +41 80
2 38 +36 71
3 38 +27 71
4 38 +29 68
5 38 +9 62
6 38 +15 58
7 38 +6 54
8 38 +6 49
9 38 -11 48
10 38 -11 47
11 38 -15 47
12 38 -1 46
13 38 -2 46
14 38 -4 46
15 38 -13 43
16 38 -21 42
17 38 -20 40
18 38 -21 39
19 38 -23 39
20 38 -27 33
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