Bottom-placed Blackburn Rovers shock Manchester United
By AFP | Posted 01-Jan-2012
Bottom-placed Blackburn Rovers wreck Man United boss Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday celebrations with a stunning win at Old Trafford to provide under-fire boss Steve Kean some much-needed respite
Bottom club Blackburn Rovers wrecked Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday celebrations on Saturday after scoring a stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford. Rovers defender Grant Hanley bundled in an 80th-minute winner after United goalkeeper David de Gea made a hash of his punched clearance from Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner.
Man Utd's Phil Jones (airborne) vies with Blackburn Rovers' Ayegbeni Yakubu during Saturday's EPL match at Old Trafford. Pic/AFP
Hanley, the hero Hanley's decisive goal settled a bizarre encounter that had seen Rovers surge into a 2-0 lead via an Ayegbeni Yakubu brace before Dimitar Berbatov struck twice to level it for United. The defeat ruined United's hopes of finishing 2011 on top of the Premier League and handed rivals Manchester City the opportunity of opening up a three-point lead with a win at Sunderland on Sunday.
The win was only Blackburn's third of the season and their first victory away from home. Rovers grabbed a shock lead on 16 minutes when Yakubu stroked home from the penalty spot after Berbatov had hauled down Christopher Samba to concede a foul.
Rooney's absence hurt them United struggled to find a way through some resolute Rovers defending. United badly missed the attacking thrust of the rested Wayne Rooney. And on 51 minutes United were left reeling when Yakubu bulldozed through some feeble United defending to drive in his second for 2-0.
United responded almost immediately, however, sweeping forward from the re-start and pulling a goal back through Berbatov when the Bulgarian headed in Rafael's angled shot. On 62 minutes Berbatov levelled a pulsating encounter, sweeping in from close range after a fine run and cross from Antonio Valencia.
It seemed as if United were poised to go and claim the victory but de Gea's blunder gifted a precious victory to Steve Kean's Rovers.