Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Blackburn 0 Manchester City 1

It has taken 10 Premier League games and plenty of time sat on the substitutes’ bench, but Edin Dzeko’s first league goal for Manchester City might yet prove to be worth every penny of his £27 million transfer fee if it propels Roberto Mancini’s team into the Champions League.

First Fernando Torres and now Dzeko.

Two days after Chelsea’s £50 million forward ended his debilitating three-month goal drought, Dzeko finally found his goal touch for City to seal a narrow 1-0 victory against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

The Bosnian forward, a January arrival from Wolfsburg, was billed as the forward whose goals would ensure Champions League qualification and, while the wait has gone on and on for his first Premier League goal, he finally delivered when it truly mattered.

City’s pursuit of fourth spot and the Champions League passport that comes with it was given a welcome boost by Tottenham dropping two points at home to West Bromwich on Saturday.

With City and Spurs due to meet at Eastlands next month, Roberto Mancini’s team arrived at Ewood Park knowing that a victory against Blackburn Rovers would lift them four points clear of Harry Redknapp’s and potentially take the sting out of the May 10 encounter with the London club.

And although the Pools Panel had surprisingly judged this fixture to be a home victory, despite Blackburn’s 10-game winless run being the club’s worst for 25 years, City could not have chosen a more suitable venue at which to end their wait for an away win in 2011.

Blackburn’s recent slide has seen them drop into the relegation dogfight, a slump which has seen their thin-skinned manager Steve Kean accuse the local media of failing to give him and his team credit for recent performances.

Kean’s embattled mood, set against the grumblings of Rovers supporters alarmed by the club’s nosedive since the sacking of Sam Allardyce in December, ensured an air of division inside Ewood Park.

And City started as though they were determined to capitalise on the discord afflicting the home side by asserting heavy pressure on Blackburn from the outset.

With just three minutes on the clock, City winger David Silva rattled Paul Robinson’s right-hand post with a well-struck volley from 20 yards and the Spaniard continued to trouble Blackburn with his probing and sublime passing in the final third.

Carlos Tévez, City’s injured captain, might be the club’s leading scorer, but Silva has become the team’s leading light. Tévez will leave Eastlands in the summer and he will be missed, but he will not leave the kind of hole that Silva’s departure would ensure.

There is little likelihood of Silva leaving Eastlands anytime soon, however.

Mancini will build his team around the former Valencia playmaker and if he can strike an understanding with Mario Balotelli, City will possess a potent strike-force next season.

Balotelli, once again favoured ahead of the £27 million January signing Dzeko, forced Robinson into a save from his 30-yard free-kick before Gareth Barry saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Michel Salgado.

Blackburn weathered the early storm, though, and managed to stem the City flow, but chances for the home side were limited and forward Jason Roberts was fortunate to escape a booking when he fell to the ground theatrically after Vincent Kompany had poked the ball off his toes in the penalty area.

While City were impressive on the pitch, though, the chants from the 3,500 travelling supporters, who serenaded Yaya Touré with ‘Who put the ball in the Munichs’ net,’ referring to his FA Cup semi-final winner against Manchester United, did little to dignify the club.

Blackburn emerged a different team after half-time, however, and after Robinson had tipped Touré’s header over the crossbar in the 46th minute, the home side began to dominate.

City, so powerful and assured in the first-half, appeared to run out of steam as Jermaine Jones and David Dunn took a grip of the midfield for Blackburn.

Rovers also began to test City down the flanks, with Salgado and Martin Olsson allowed to break into the final third before cutting into the penalty area or delivering dangerous crosses.

Olsson volleyed into the side-netting on 50 minutes after Roberts had glanced Brett Emerton’s cross into his path at the far post, but despite Blackburn’s pressure, it was a rare effort on goal.

Still, City’s opener came out of the blue, yet it would have been a welcome break for Dzeko, who had only entered the play four minutes earlier as a replacement for Adam Johnson.

The goal was sparked by Silva, whose shot struck Phil Jones and bounced back to Dzeko eight yards from goal.

With Balotelli straying into an offside position, which blocked Robinson’s line of sight, Dzeko struck a right-foot shot past the helpless goalkeeper.

It has been a long wait for Dzeko’s first goal, but the £27 million will feel like a drop in the ocean if it proves the strike that puts City out of reach in the race for fourth place.

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