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City slickers cruise to Ewood win
Published : 15 Aug 2009 17:19:31Rss feed
Emmanuel Adebayor set them on their way, lashing home Shaun Wright-Phillips' cut-back after just three minutes. Then, with stoppage time approaching and City looking likely to hold onto the lead provided by their £25million new-boy, Stephen Ireland popped up to fire home after a mazy solo burst. In between, City were forced to survive periods of intense Rovers pressure. But with Kolo Toure in fine form and Shay Given making excellent saves to deny Chris Samba and Jason Roberts, City were able to celebrate their success with gusto. Hughes only named three of his six summer signings in his starting line-up, although two more were on the bench - including Carlos Tevez - for the start of a campaign that has been eagerly awaited for so long by so many. And the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, two of the men irritated by City's rise, plus a 6,000-strong travelling Blues army did not have to wait long for the first glimpse of what their side are now capable of. As Adebayor wheeled away to celebrate his first City goal, a few of those fans must have been pinching themselves at the wonder of it all. Not that they had long to celebrate. City's goal had come on the counter-attack following a Blackburn corner and it soon became evident the home side were going to enjoy a long period of dominance. Striking duo Roberts and Benni McCarthy proved difficult to subdue, as did El Hadji-Diouf and Morten Gamst Pedersen in wider positions. However, for all the attackers Hughes has brought in this summer and the continuing fall-out from his pursuit of Joleon Lescott, the Welshman has reinforced his defence as well. Gareth Barry is a very useful screening player in midfield while Toure is a central defensive rock, who always keeps his head without ever looking like enduring one of those momentary lapses his partner Richard Dunne suffers so frequently. And behind Toure was Given, a relative veteran having arrived from Newcastle last January at the cost of £6million to force Joe Hart to pursue his England ambitions with Birmingham. Amid a plethora of Blackburn chances, a couple stood out. McCarthy cushioned a fine header into the path of Roberts and a Diouf corner that dropped onto Chris Samba's head. Unfortunately for the hosts, on the first occasion Roberts lashed his shot over. On the second Given flew across his goal to make an excellent save. Roberts was denied another sight of goal by Dunne's last-ditch tackle and when Keith Andrews had a penalty appeal turned down in stoppage time, Sam Allardyce must have wondered how he came to be giving an interval team-talk to a team staring defeat in the face. Of course, winning when you are not playing well is a mantra of all top clubs, so Hughes had no apologies to make on his return to Ewood Park. In fact, City were marginally the better side when the teams returned, with Adebayor looking far more lively than he had done in his last few performances with Arsenal. Not that Rovers were throwing in the towel. Roberts brought another excellent save from Given with a stooping header. That attack triggered a response of sorts from City, who went agonisingly close through Robinho. It was the Brazilian's only meaningful contribution and not long after he had been denied by Paul Robinson's full-length save, his number 10 was flashed up on the board as Tevez waited to be introduced. As usual, Tevez's industry caught the eye. Robinson denied him a debut goal before Ireland, collecting Wright-Phillips' crossfield pass, calmly took his time before beating Robinson at his near post.