domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Blackburn 1 - 2 Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur move up to fifth in the table, ahead of Liverpool with a game in hand, and Blackburn Rovers return to the bottom after a scrap as evenly contested as the scoreline would suggest.

Spurs won it with two goals from Rafael van der Vaart but Rovers might have had more than Mauro Formica's first-half equaliser in reply.

Harry Redknapp's team were always vulnerable in the air, especially at set pieces, and need their injured centre-halves – William Gallas, Ledley King and Michael Dawson – available again if they are to continue making upward progress.

As is their wont these days, Rovers fans staged a protest march to the ground before the match, calling for a change of management. Again it was a low-key demonstration of their discontent, with no more than 500 involved, all well behaved and easily policed.

The mood of the locals scarcely improved after 15 minutes when Spurs took the lead, Aaron Lennon's pace on the right flank embarrassing Gaël Givet and the winger's centre, from the edge of the six-yard box, enabling Van der Vaart to sidefoot low, inside the far post.

A switch of wings was close to doubling the margin two minutes later, when Martin Olsson's awkward reaction to Gareth Bale's cross had Paul Robinson at full stretch in tipping the ball over his crossbar. It took another notable save from the former England goalkeeper, at the expense of Emmanuel Adebayor, to prevent Spurs from taking a stranglehold on the game.

Instead, after 28 minutes equality was restored when Morten Gamst Pedersen's long free-kick was headed down by Chris Samba for Formica to score with an unstoppable volley from near the penalty spot. In response Luka Modric, from 20 yards, had Robinson plunging low to his right.

Spurs regained the lead after 53 minutes, when Benoît Assou-Ekotto played the ball in to Van der Vaart, who rifled home his second from 22 yards. Again, back came Blackburn from another set piece, with Samba testing Brad Friedel overhead from Pedersen's corner. A point would not have flattered them unduly.

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