Spurs claim draw at Blackburn
Rovers fail to secure much-needed win in tight encounter
Last Updated: 05/04/08 6:10pm
Blackburn's European ambitions took a hit as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham at Ewood Park.
Both sides had plenty of half-chances to win it, but there were few genuine opportunities to break the deadlock after Blackburn's equaliser.
Tottenham took an early lead when good work from Jermaine Jenas created space in the box, and he fed a ball across the goal for Dimitar Berbatov to bundle it over the line.
Spurs went on to gain some control after the goal and looked capable of adding to their advantage, but a precise long pass from Steven Reid was superbly brought down by David Bentley, who went past Pascal Chimbonda into the box and played it across for Morten Gamst Pedersen to turn home.
Blackburn brought on Benni McCarthy to provide a three-pronged attack midway through the second-half, but a rejected penalty shout as Bentley was blocked off in the area was as close as they came to forcing a winner and the sides had to settle for a point apiece.
England goalkeeper Paul Robinson was left out by Tottenham after being troubled by an ankle injury and his replacement Radek Cerny gifted Rovers an early opportunity.
Cerny came out of his area but, after a misunderstanding with Chimbonda, hesitated and then fluffed a clearance. Andre Ooijer flighted the ball deep into the box but Cerny managed to scramble back to punch and his defenders tidied up.
Spurs responded emphatically as Steed Malbranque slipped the ball into the Blackburn box for Jenas to look up and square for Berbatov in front of goal.
The Bulgarian did not make clean contact but, from such close range, he could not fail to net his 22nd goal of the season, Blackburn's appeals for offside falling on deaf ears.
Spurs kept up the pressure with Lennon forcing Ryan Nelsen to concede a corner from a dangerous cross from the left.
Pedersen had Blackburn's first serious attempt on goal but his low shot was easily gathered by Cerny.
Aaron Lennon looked a handful as Spurs did most of the pressing but they were caught out just before the half-hour mark by a moment of magic from Bentley.
The England midfielder, subject of speculation over his future this week, brilliantly controlled a Reid ball on the right to breeze past Chimbonda, again looking uncomfortable on the left.
Bentley powered on to the byline and then pulled the ball back for a grateful Pedersen to finish clinically. The goal enlivened Bentley and he and Lennon then seemed to take turns to try outdo each other.
Both were denied free-kicks within moments of each other after seemingly being impeded, Lennon after breaking into the box and Bentley in racing clear from midfield.
Bentley also hit one superb crossfield pass and, just before the interval, forced Cerny to save from a curling 30-yard free-kick.
Bentley created the first opening of the second half with a good ball over the top for Jason Roberts but the striker was harshly penalised for a foul on Michael Dawson.
Spurs quickly counter-attacked and Berbatov tested Brad Friedel with a low shot, as did Roberts on Cerny when Rovers got their chance to break back.
With little respite in the action, Lennon then found space down the right and found Malbranque with a low cross, but Friedel was alert to the Frenchman's shot.
After that flurry of activity, the game settled down but attack remained very much the intention of both sides. Bentley fired a shot wide from distance and Robbie Keane raced into the box only to run out of options and see an attack break down.
Blackburn had strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Bentley felt he was impeded by substitute Gilberto in the area.The best Rovers got was a free-kick on the edge of the area a few minutes later but Bentley fired that straight at Cerny. Spurs had a similar opportunity in the dying moments but Jenas barely tested Friedel with his effort.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||7|
|5||Shots off Target||2|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Bromwich Albion||6||8|
|13||West Ham United||6||7|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||6||4|