Stunners kick-start Rovers
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 20/08/05 4:55pm
Two stunning volleys gave Blackburn victory over Fulham, with Morten Gamst Pedersen and Tugay on target for Rovers in a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.
Pedersen had laid on a wonderful first with a left footed volley that thundered home, and the Norwegian turned provider as Tugay grabbed the winner, sandwiching a leveller from Fulham's Brian McBride.
Blackburn had dominated the first half, and found themselves a goal to the good.
Fulham had given early signs that they were ready to push forward and Brad Friedel made a hash of a long range Luis Boa Morte effort, with Ryan Nelsen clearing a fumbled parry.
The burden of main striker has fallen to Shefki Kuqi with Craig Bellamy and Paul Dickov absent through injury and suspension respectively, and he looked a little nervous early on, completely missing his kick on a decent chance.
But he made amends soon after, finding the perfect deep cross after being put clear down the right by Lucas Neill, and looking on in delight as Pedersen thundered home a wonderful first time volley that flashed past Tony Warner in the Fulham goal.
The Finn perhaps should have turned from provider to scorer soon after when picked out by Dominic Matteo, but his toe-poked effort flashed wide.
Niclas Jensen had to turn away a dangerous Robbie Savage cross, and Kuqi was again denied when Warner came out well to save after he had been put in with a fine chance.
Fulham were looking utterly lost, but they did nearly haul themselves level.
Papa Bouba Diop rose to power in a header from a free kick and could scarcely believe it when Friedel flicked out his right hand to tip the effort over the top.
Chris Coleman went in at the break knowing that his side had to play better to get anything from the game, and whatever he said had the desired impact.
A good free kick routine caught Rovers napping, and Jensen's fine cross was deftly touched in by McBride to level the scores.
Blackburn rallied and, again, Kuqi had a chance to open his account in the game, Pedersen's corner dropping to him, but knocked over the top - apparently off a Fulham player.
From the resultant corner Warner had to produce an acrobatic tip over to prevent Pedersen scoring direct from the set-piece, and Neill's fine run and attempted chip drifted just over.
Jensen had Friedel scrambling for a free kick, whilst Neill's impressive game continued as he chipped a lovely ball over the top for Brett Emerton to fire in and draw a decent save from Warner.
And suddenly the pressure paid off, Tugay picked out by Pedersen's corner volleying home spectacularly from outside the box.
Neill, brilliant throughout, nearly got a goal to cap his display, showing great talent to dance around a couple of half-hearted challenges before smashing the ball of the face of the bar with his weaker right foot.
Friedel was out quickly to deny Boa Morte, on a rare foray forward for Fulham, but Rovers were utterly in control and had the luxury of bringing on Garry Flitcroft for his 300th appearance.
So after a rather embarrassing false start against West Ham, Blackburn's season is off the ground - and in some style.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Name||Fulham|
|9||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||4|
|7||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||4|
|26||Total Fouls Conceded||14|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||8||13|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||8||9|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||8||4|