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Blackburn Rovers 3 Queens Park Rangers 2

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Yakubu scored on his return from a three-match suspension to help Blackburn secure a crucial victory over fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.

The striker collected a long free-kick and fired in from 18 yards before Steven Nzonzi swept home on 23 minutes.

And Junior Hoilett’s angled shot was deflected in by Nedum Onuoha to complete a fine half for the hosts.

Substitute Jamie Mackie tucked in Taye Taiwo’s cross and found the net late on but QPR had too much to recover.

Onuoha could have made amends for his own goal with a great chance before Mackie’s double, but could not find a way past way Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

Despite their late rally, Mark Hughes’s side were made to pay for a poor first-half display, where they looked like a team still getting used to playing with one another.

And the defeat means QPR have won just once in five games since the Welshman took charge on 10 January.

Steve Kean’s team were clinical in comparison with the win allowing them to move level on points with their opponents as they secured their fifth win of the season.

They will also be hugely thankful to have their leading marksman back in the side since his sending off against Fulham last month, and it was a perfect response to their 7-1 mauling by Arsenal last Saturday .

QPR only summoned up two efforts on target before the break via Armand Traore’s shot and Adel Taarabt’s chip.

Other than that, Bobby Zamora’s overhead kick following a corner summed up a miserable half which began with a bang for Nigerian Yakubu.

Yakubu

Yakubu

As has been the case several times this season, it came via route one, with Robinson delivering the ball into the opposition penalty area and, when Nzonzi’s flick landed at Yakubu’s feet, he twisted past Anton Ferdinand before firing past Paddy Kenny for his 14th goal of the season.

Soon after, the hosts doubled their lead when Nzonzi collected the ball in midfield, fed Hoilett and, after receiving his return pass, struck sweetly from just inside the penalty box.

Without the suspended Djibril Cisse, who saw red against Wolves last weekend, Hughes’s team looked disjointed and were slow to support lone striker Zamora.


And their hopes of getting back into the contest before the interval were dealt a serious blow in first-half stoppage time.

Another long free-kick by Morten Gamst Pedersen was headed square by Scott Dann and, when Hoilett picked up the loose ball he somehow managed to squeeze it in from the angle as it clipped Onuoha and went in over Kenny’s head.

The visitors started the second period more brightly, no doubt with a few half-time words ringing in their ears, but Yakubu almost made it 4-0 when he nonchalantly chipped on to the bar from the edge of the area.

That seemed to give Rangers much-needed urgency and Onuoha could have made amends for his earlier own goal but Robinson saved his effort.

Mackie then came on for Akos Buzsaky and gave QPR some reward for their improvement when he tucked in Taiwo’s cross.

By this stage Blackburn were content to sit on their lead, although that gave their opponents more room to operate.

And a remarkable comeback looked possible when Taarabt found Mackie, who found the top corner in stoppage time.

But Rovers hung on and, without the likes of the suspended Gael Givet and the injured Chris Samba, they will be delighted to have their top scorer back in the fold once again.

Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 3

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GRANT Hanley gave Blackburn Rovers a memorable Premier League win at Old Trafford as Rovers stunned the champions 3-2.

A Yakubu double had fired the visitors into a shock 2-0 lead but a brace from Dimitar Berbatov pegged them back.

United looked as though they would go on to secure victory but it was Hanley’s header that won the game and gave Rovers a priceless three points.

As expected, Rovers were under pressure from the start as they looked to hit Rovers’ inexperienced line up early.

Nani was looking dangerous down the right and went close to opening the scoring on six with a shot from 20 yards that flew wide.

Crosses were raining in from both flanks but some desperate defending saw the hosts get through a one-sided first 10 minutes still level.

Old Trafford was then stunned five minutes later as Rovers took the lead from the penalty spot from their first attack of the game.

Dimitar Berbatov dragged down Chris Samba in the penalty area and Yakubu calmly slotted home the resulting spot kick.

United continued to press forward but a resolute Rovers rearguard was standing firm as they threw their bodies in front of the ball time and time again.

Phil Jones should have levelled for the hosts on 28, scuffing a close range shot from a corner, while Dimitar Berbatov saw a shot flash wide of goal a couple of minutes later.

Yakubu

Yakubu

Nani was then the next to miss a good chance as he fired over from 10 yards, before Mark Bunn parried his shot side in the dying seconds of the half and then saved brilliantly from Javier Hernandez.

United continued to press after the break and Nani was again Rovers’ main tormentor, curling just over on 49 minutes.

Rovers’ lead was doubled a minute later though as Yakubu slipped past a hesitant Jones and rifled a low shot under De Gea.

The jubliant away fans were silenced seconds later though as Berbatov headed the hosts back into the game.


Antonio Valencia’s cross was only partially cleared by Nzonzi and from Ji-Sung Park’s resulting cross, Berbatov glanced home from close range.

The Bulgarian levelled for the hosts on 62 minutes after a sloppy clearance out of defence from Morten Gamst Pedersen gifted them possession.

Valencia sped past Henley on the right and his low pull back was drilled home by Berbatov.

United looked the more likely to grab the winner but Mauro Formica did go close to firing the visitors back into the lead with a shot from 18 yards that was deflected inches wide.

Valencia fired over as United pushed forward with 15 minutes remaining, although at the other end the surging Adam Henley had a strike deflected over the bar.

Incredibly from the resulting corner, taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Hanley headed Rovers back into the lead after he had beaten the flapping De Gea to the initial cross.

In the dying seconds Bunn’s legs blocked Berbatov’s shot on the line as Rovers held on to maximum points.