McCarthy gives Blackburn lead at break

HT Blackburn 1 Manchester City 0

HT Blackburn 1 Manchester City 0

Benni McCarthy’s injury-time effort gave Blackburn a first-half lead against Manchester City at Ewood Park.

McCarthy fired home when Jason Roberts collected Brett Emerton’s low cross to give Rovers the edge.

City should have taken the lead much earlier but first Felipe Caicedo then, inexplicably, Robinho were off-target from close range to bring more misery for manager Mark Hughes.

City were winning most of the crunch tackles, although Kompany brought one long period of possession to an end with a woeful long-range shot that flew high over the crossbar.

Dunne’s last-ditch tackle denied Roberts, who had turned inside Onuoha as he latched onto Ryan Nelsen’s long punt downfield.

Paul Robinson had to race bravely from his goal to clear as Caicedo threatened to get on the end of Elano’s quickly-taken free-kick.

While City’s slick passing could get the Rovers defence in trouble, the hosts best opportunities were coming through the aerial route.

Tugay was cautioned when he clattered into Robinho from behind but Elano wasted the free-kick, which was off-target to start with and curled even further away from goal.

Ireland slammed a 20-yard volley into the home supporters as the visitors continued to look more like breaking the deadlock than Rovers, although McCarthy did turn and shoot smartly after collecting Stephen Warnock’s free-kick.

And, not for the first time this season, City were to get caught by a sucker punch in stoppage time.

In wasting possession inside their own half, the visitors presented Emerton with a chance to cross. It was not the perfect ball for Roberts but he did enough to turn goalwards and McCarthy did the rest, lashing home from 10 yards.

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