Monday 23 April 2018

Dzeko bags first league goal to keep City on track

Blackburn 0
Manchester City 1

Ken Gaunt

Edin Dzeko grabbed the winner for Manchester City with his first goal at the 10th attempt in the Premier League at Ewood Park last night.

In the process the Bosnian, a £27m buy from Wolfsburg in January, propelled Roberto Mancini's side towards a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League.

Not only that, Dzeko made sure Blackburn continue to worry about relegation after their 10th league match without a victory.

After beating Manchester United and securing a place in the FA Cup final it was no surprise City started brightly. However, they failed to make their possession pay, in the first half especially, and Blackburn began to grow in confidence.

But it all came right for Mancini in the end and they are now four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

City almost took the lead in the third minute with a sweeping move. Pablo Zabaleta delivered the ball from the right and Gareth Barry touched it to Silva. The Spanish forward connected perfectly only to see his shot hit the post and come back out.

Blackburn again found themselves on the back foot four minutes later when City won a free-kick 25 yards out, but Balotelli's effort was gathered cleanly by Paul Robinson.

From a City corner in the 18th minute Barry's header was cleared off the line by Michel Salgado.


Blackburn struggled for the opening half hour but had a decent spell for the remainder of the first half and Brett Emerton sent a good cross into the area, but Benjani Mwaruwari's header was wayward.

Five minutes before the break, Chris Samba saw his towering header go narrowly wide of the post after being set up by Salgado.

City started the second half like they did the first and Robinson took no chances and pushed over a close-range header from Yaya Toure following a cross from Silva.

Blackburn almost took the lead in the 50th minute following a swift counter-attack. Emerton picked out Jason Roberts and his header appeared to be going wide only for Martin Olsson to get on the end of it and send a shot into the side-netting.

City almost edged in front in the 68th minute when Silva carved out an opening only to find the wrong side of the post with his curling effort.

Adam Johnson was replaced by Dzeko in the 72nd minute and the Bosnian responded with his first goal in the Premier League three minutes later. Silva supplied the cross and Phil Jones only succeeded in sending his clearance straight to Dzeko, who smashed it home without hesitation.

Blackburn, however, should have drawn level in the 87th minute but Phil Jones headed over from close range and then Olsson's effort was blocked by Hart in stoppage-time.

These are worrying times for Rovers, who remain one point outside the bottom three with four games left.

Irish Independent

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