31 December 2011
Blackburn Rovers’ two-goal hero, Yakubu Aiyegbeni hailed the performance of his side in their stunning 3-2 upset win over champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Although the day was supposed to be a special one for Sir Alex Ferguson being the United boss’ 70th birthday, Rovers’ were clearly not in celebration mood as they inflicted only the second defeat on the Red Devils this season.
Rovers’ Nigerian hit man got the ball rolling when after weathering the initial United onslaught, the visitors took the lead with only their fist foray into the home team’s box when Dimitar Berbatov was adjudged to have fouled Christopher Samba in the 16th minute to give a way a penalty, which Aiyegbeni coolly slotted home past David de Gea.
Things were to get worse for the home side when in the 51st minute the Super Eagles outcast beat of the weak challenges from Rafael and Michael Carrick to blast the ball past de Gea.
However, barely 20 seconds after going two goals down, United were back in it when Berbatov nodded in from close range.
The Bulgarian, who scored five in the 7-1 demolition the last time both teams met, was again on target 10 minutes later when he rifled home a fine cross from Antonio Valencia.
But rather than building on this fight back, question marks around the goalkeeping ability of De Gea will once again be asked after the Spaniard flapped at a corner kick to allow Grant Hanley head home his first goal of the season.
Try as United did they just could not find a way back to slump to their second home defeat of the season and allow the title race pendulum swing back in Manchester City’s favour.
Had United even drawn with Rovers they would have led the table at least for 24 hours until City play Sunderland on Sunday afternoon.
However, speaking after the game, Aiyegbeni said he was delighted that the team as a whole had been able to win for their beleaguered manager, Steve Kean.
“It is not easy coming here (Old Trafford) to win. I’m happy that we did because at least it will take some pressure of the manager and even us as players,” said Aiyegbeni, whose brace took him to 12 for the season and is bound to increase calls for Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi to end his national team wilderness.
Speaking alongside the Nigerian, Hanley said they were confident that they would not be relegated at the end of the season.
The win took Rovers, Premier League winners in 1995, three places off the bottom of the table for the first time in weeks and follows last week’s battling 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
AllAfrica – All the Time