Man United 2 Blackburn 3
Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 3, Old Trafford, English Premier League, December 31, 2011. Manchester United succumbed to a shock 3-2 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers in the luchtime fixture at Old Trafford. After Blackburn had gone into a 2-0 lead through a brace from Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Dimitar Berbatov found the net twice for United, only for Grant Hanley to net the winner for Rovers with ten minutes remaining of normal time.
Manchester United were without defenders Rio Ferdinand, Fabio da Silva, Chris Smalling, and Nemanja Vidic; midfielders Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, and Ashley Young; and forward Michael Owen who were either injured or sick. Blackburn Rovers, for their part, were missing goalkeeper Paul Robinson, defenders Scott Dann, Gael Givet, Ryan Nelsen, and Martin Olsson; midfielders David Dunn and Vince Grella; and forward Junior Hoilett because of injury and illness. The Riversiders got off to a dream start when they were awarded a penalty-kick by referee Mike Dean which Nigerian international Yakubu Aiyegbeni subsequently converted to put the Ewood Park club ahead in the sixteenth minute of the encounter. To make things even worse for Manchester United, Aiyegbeni scored his second goal of the match six minutes into the second half as the twenty-nine-year-old attacker outpaced Three Lions defender Phil Jones before he powered the ball through the legs of home shot stopper David de Gea. Sir Alex Ferguson´s Premiership title chasers responded instantly when offensive oriented full back Rafael da Silva found Dimitar Berbatov who headed the ball past Mark Bunn in the Blackburn goal and into the net from close range after fifty-two minutes of action. And only ten minutes later, Berbatov managed to level the score when the goal poacher shot past Bunn after Antonio Valencia had cut the ball back from the right-hand byline. But then, in the eightieth minute of the clash, a dreadful mistake from De Gea allowed Scotland international Grant Hanley to head home the visitor´s winning goal.
Despite the unexpected 3-2 loss at home to relegation threatened Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United were still joint table toppers with neighbouring rivals Manchester City, who suffered an equally surprising 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sunderland at The Stadium of Light where former Jeonnam Dragons winger Ji Dong-won registered the winner for The Black Cats in the very last minute of normal time. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Ji-Sung Park, Luis Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck. Substitutes: Anders Lindegaard, Oliveira Anderson, Ezekiel Fryers, Larnell Cole, Paul Pogba, Mame Biram Diouf, William Keane. Blackburn Rovers Team: Mark Bunn, Grant Hanley, Adam Henley, Christopher Samba, Mauro Formica, Jason Lowe, Steven N’Zonzi, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Radosav Petrovic, Ruben Rochina, Yakubu Ayegbeni. Substitutes: Jake Kean, Joshua Morris, Amine Linganzi, Simon Vukcevic, Nick Blackman, David Goodwillie, Jordan Slew.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Carlos Tevez hit four of the goals while Luis Nani was also on target as Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 5-3 at home in the 5th round of the League Cup on the 3rd of December 2008.