Blackburn 0 Man United 2
Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester United 2, Ewood Park, English Premier League, April 2, 2012. Manchester United gained three vital points against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. South American winger Antonio Valencia made it 1-0 in the eighty-first minute before Ashley Young doubled the United advantage with a fierce and accurate shot five minutes later.
Sir Alex Ferguson was well pleased with his team’s effort in the 2-0 Premier League victory against local rivals Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. The Old Trafford supremo particularly singled out Ecuadorian international Antonio Valencia who produced one goal and made one assist against The Blue and Whites. In the corresponding Premiership encounter of the 2010-11 campaign, Blackburn and Manchester United had played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw, with the Ewood Park club going ahead in the first period through Brett Emerton after the dynamic midfield playmaker had beaten away custodian Tomasz Kuszack with a thunderbolt effort in the twentieth minute of the tussle. In the second period, however, Three Lions international Wayne Rooney converted a highly controversial penalty-kick in the seventy-third minute to bring Ferguson´s troops level. And although Manchester United had only managed a narrow 1-0 win against mid-tablers Fulham at Old Trafford in their previous Premiership fixture, they were expected bag another three points against Rovers.
Antonio Valencia was back to his best against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park after returning from injury; showing what he was really made of. Following a goalless first half, Manchester United finally worked themselves into the lead as Valencia shot across Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson to score in the eighty-first minute and they had their second five minutes afterwards when the goal scorer turned provider, setting up fellow winger Ashley Young who hammered the ball home. The defending Premier League champions pushed hard from the start and came close to scoring after eleven minutes when Javier Hernandez received a low cross from the left-hand side and shot from just a few yards out, only to watch Robinson pull off a superb reflex save. And only three minutes later, Michael Carrick struck a long distance shot from some twenty-five yards out, but the ball curled over the crossbar. Manchester United continued to create most of the attacking opportunities in the first half, but the visitors were unable to break down a stubborn and well-organised home defence. The Premiership leaders kept on dominating the match following the resumption of action, giving The Blue and Whites a really hard time. In order to inject some more energy into his team, Sir Alex made three substitutions during the second half, with Danny Welbeck, Ryan Giggs, and Young replacing Chicharito, Phil Jones, and Paul Scholes respectively. And with nine minutes left to play, Manchester United finally broke the defensive deadlock when Rafael de Silva fed the ball to Valencia who sprinted into the area and unleashed a shot across the goal and inside the far upright. Keeping up the pace, United ultimately doubled their advantage as Valencia sent a square pass to the feet of Young who managed to beat Robinson with an accurate shot inside the left-hand upright four minutes from time. Blackburn tried to stage a late comeback, but the Manchester United back-line held firm for the remaining minutes of the game to secure a crucial 2-0 away triumph which took Ferguson´s title contenders five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Born in Lago Agrio, Antonio Valencia had been on the books of Club Deportivo El Nacional, Villarreal, Recreativo de Huelva, and Wigan Athletic before he joined Manchester United for a transfer fee in the region of sixteen million pounds at the start of the 2009-10 campaign. He was handed his competitive debut for United in a 2–2 draw against Chelsea at Wembley in the Community Shield on the ninth of August 2009, and went on to make his first Premier League appearance for The Reds in a 1–0 home victory over newly promoted Birmingham City the following weekend. A highly versatile player, Valencia was an instant hit at Manchester United and proceeded to play forty-nine first team matches in all competitions in his first season with the club. Sir Alex Ferguson: “The goal by Antonio Valencia, coming so late in the game, was obviously important. It typifies the history of Manchester United. If you don’t try to shoot you don’t find out if you can score like that. He got amazing power on it. To get that goal is very difficult with the way Blackburn defended. We are also helped by having made up the goals deficit on Manchester City. I think it was eighteen at one time. David de Gea’s progress is clear. De Gea has always had great ability and kept us in the game here so we could go on and get those goals.” Blackburn Rovers Team: Paul Robinson, Martin Olsson, Scott Dann, Bradley Orr, Grant Hanley, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steven N’Zonzi, Marcus Olsson, Junior Hoilett, Jason Lowe, Yakubu Ayegbeni. Substitutes: Mark Bunn, Adam Henley, David Dunn, Mauro Formica, Radosav Petrovic, Anthony Modeste, Ruben Rochina. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia. Substitutes: Ben Amos, Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Paul Pogba, Ji-Sung Park.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 4-2 at Ewood Park on the twenty-third of October 1994 through a brace by Andrei Kanchelskis and one goal each from Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes.