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Old Trafford (ATT 67,765) 24th September 2005 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Dowd

Man Utd Manchester United vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

Morten brace sinks United

By Adam Marshall.   Last Updated: 24/09/05 3:38pm

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Blackburn Rovers recorded their first win at Manchester United in The Premiership with Morten Gamst Pedersen scoring both goals for Mark Hughes's men in a 2-1 win.

Hughes returned to his former club to inflict a massive blow to any title pretensions United may have had as Sir Alex Ferguson made the puzzling decision to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench until the second half.

Rovers led at the break courtesy of Pedersen's free kick and, although Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised after Brad Friedel spilled Rooney's shot, a mistake by Paul Scholes allowed the Norwegian to hand the points to Blackburn.

Always a threat on the breakaway, fielding more strikers than the home side at the start, Blackburn had early chances through Paul Dickov and Craig Bellamy, before Alan Smith tested Friedel from long range with United's first real attempt on goal.

Scholes shot wastefully wide from a Cristiano Ronaldo cross and Smith also sent an effort over the top before van Nistelrooy swivelled but dragged his shot off target as the hosts found some momentum.

Nevertheless, Rovers remained a threat with Paul Dickov's diving header saved smartly by Edwin van der Sar following Bellamy's adroit centre. Michael Gray then brought the best out of the Dutchman as Rovers showed they were in no mood to lie down.

David Bentley should have scored when in the clear after more tenacious work from Bellamy but it mattered little as Pedersen's 33rd minute set-piece crept straight in after Kieron Richardson was perhaps harshly pulled up for a foul on Dickov.

Makeshift captain Scholes should have levelled matters soon after the restart but Friedel saved well with his legs and van Nistelrooy somehow contrived to miss a sitter at the far post from Ronaldo's free kick.

Rooney was thrown on to inject some impetus to United's attack and the former Everton forward displayed a marvellous touch to set himself up for a shot that Friedel could only parry to van Nistelrooy, who rounded the American keeper before tapping into an empty net.

Van Nistelrooy then tried an ambitious long-range attempt when he had better options and Ferdinand, dreadful throughout, could only screw a chip behind the goal with players queuing up in the middle, begging for an opportunity.

It was Scholes who was guilty of awful play with nine minutes left, inexplicably presenting the ball to Gray on the edge of his own box. The former Sunderland defender fed Pedersen, once a target for The Red Devils, who inflicted maximum damage with an unerring finish that speared past van der Sar and rocketed into the net.

There was little hope of below-par United getting back into the game as they slip further behind imperious champions Chelsea. Rooney flashed wide after van Nistelrooy collided with Friedel and then headed tamely from substitute Ryan Giggs's cross in injury time.

Hughes returned to upset his former club and the natives will be growing restless at Old Trafford, if not purely at the poor results then more probably at the manager's belief in a tactical system that simply is not working.

Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers player ratings

Manchester UtdTeam NameBlackburn Rovers
1Goals2
5Shots on target ( Inc Goals )10
17Shots off Target (inc woodwork)0
6Blocked Shots0
7Corners Won1
14Total Fouls Conceded15
1Offsides2
1Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
57%Possession43%

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 6 16
2 Southampton 6 13
3 Manchester City 6 11
4 Arsenal 6 10
5 Swansea City 6 10
6 Aston Villa 6 10
7 Manchester United 6 8
8 Tottenham Hotspur 6 8
9 Crystal Palace 6 8
10 West Bromwich Albion 6 8
11 Stoke City 6 8
12 Leicester City 6 8
13 West Ham United 6 7
14 Liverpool 6 7
15 Everton 6 6
16 Hull City 6 6
17 Sunderland 6 5
18 Queens Park Rangers 6 4
19 Newcastle United 6 3
20 Burnley 6 3

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