English Premiership

Blackburn stun Man United

2011-12-31 16:54
Alex Ferguson (AFP)

Manchester - Grant Hanley's 80th-minute goal handed Blackburn Rovers a stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on the last day of 2011 to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday was one to forget.

Having revealed earlier in the day that he expects to retire in three years, Ferguson then saw Ayegbeni Yakubu hand the struggling visitors a two-goal lead before Dimitar Berbatov responded with two goals of his own to bring United level.

However, with Blackburn under increasing pressure, a rare corner brought them a surprising, although deserved, winner.

Hanley beat United goalkeeper David de Gea to Morten Gamst Pedersen's kick and, with the home defence slow to respond, the central defender reacted quickly and beat Rafael to the rebound to head in a memorable winning goal, just the second of his career.

United, who thus missed the opportunity to leap above Manchester City into first place, had been stunned by the opening goal, after 15 minutes during which they had enjoyed all the possession but failed to create an opening of note.

Instead, they were found vulnerable as Blackburn launched their first attack of the afternoon, via a long free-kick punted forward by their goalkeeper, Mark Bunn.

Berbatov, pressed into defensive set-piece duties, found himself engaged in a tussle with Rovers defender Chris Samba and clearly tugged on his shirt as the pair fell to ground.

Referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in awarding the penalty, from which Yakubu calmly put Blackburn in front with a confident finish into the bottom left-hand corner.

Yakubu's second goal, five minutes into the second half, was a much more impressive individual effort.

Gathering a throw-in, the Rovers target man eased past Rafael, enjoyed a fortunate bounce off Michael Carrick's attempted tackle and then easily beat Phil Jones before unleashing a fierce shot into the United goal.

It appeared that Ferguson was paying the price for some surprising team selections -- midfielder Carrick partnering former Rovers defender Jones in the centre of defence, and right-back Rafael playing alongside Park Ji-Sung in an unfamiliar central midfield pairing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, United struggled to test the opposition goalkeeper, behind a packed and determined Blackburn defence, with that first half line-up.

In one promising spell of pressure, started when Samba headed a Danny Welbeck shot behind, Berbatov flicked on a Nani corner only for Jones to see his goalbound shot hit team-mate Javier Hernandez, who then shot just wide from the edge of the area.

It took until the 52nd minute, seconds after going 2-0 down, for United to finally find the goal they desperately needed.

Direct from kick-off following Yakubu's second goal, Rafael drove forward and launched a move that ended with the young Brazilian crossing for Berbatov to score with a close-range diving header.

Finally, the Old Trafford crowd was animated and Ferguson's half-time decision to bring on Anderson to bolster his midfield was paying dividends.

Bunn had to save athletically with his legs to repel Evra's deflected shot and, just after the hour, Berbatov was on the mark again to draw United level.

A poor clearance from Pedersen played his team into pressure and Rafael, with a neat forward header to Antonio Valencia, maintained it.

The United winger sped to the by-line and picked out Berbatov with an accurate cross that allowed the Bulgarian to sweep in the ball from 10 yards.

United seemed poised to go on and claim the win but Hanley was to have the last word.

Read more on:    epl  |  alex ferguson


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

05 December 2015
Stoke City v Manchester City, Britannia Stadium 14:45
Arsenal v Sunderland, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v Leicester City, Liberty Stadium 17:00
Manchester United v West Ham United, Old Trafford 17:00
Southampton v Aston Villa, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur, The Hawthorns 17:00
Watford v Norwich City, Vicarage Road 17:00
Chelsea v Bournemouth, Stamford Bridge 19:30
06 December 2015
Newcastle United v Liverpool, St. James' Park 18:00
07 December 2015
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.