Anelka fires City to victory at Ewood Park
Blackburn 2-3 Man City                           return to Manchester City

Nicolas Anelka scored a late winner for Man City to hand them a victory against Blackburn at Ewood Park that puts them top of the Premiership.

City were twice in front through Michael Tarnat and Joey Barton before allowing Rovers to level with sloppy goals from corners.

City winger Trevor Sinclair headed into his own net and then Blackburn defender Lorenzo Amoruso scored his first for the club.

But with Rovers pushing for all three points Anelka broke away and finished with style.

It started so well for City when they went in front after less than four minutes with a stunning free-kick from Tarnat.

The German midfielder, making only his third league appearance for the club since his summer move from Bayern Munich, tried his luck from well over 30 yards out.

Rovers keeper Brad Friedel got his hand to his swerving strike but could not do enough to keep it out.

4 mins: Tarnat scores a spectacular opener
44 mins: Sinclair's own goal levels it
59 mins: Barton puts City back in front
61 mins: Amoruso heads another equaliser for Rovers
86 mins: Anelka scores a fine solo winner

With so many attacking options it was no surprise that both sides had their chances to add to the scoreline in the opening half.

Rovers midfielder Steven Reid, making his first start for the club, blasted into the side-netting when a cross looked the better option.

Dwight Yorke then volleyed wide from close range after another Reid shot.

For City Anelka was a constant threat with his pace and his willingness to run at defenders.

The Frenchman picked up the ball on the left touchline and made straight for the heart of the Rovers defence before blazing a shot high and wide.

In the absence of Robbie Fowler and Paulo Wanchope due to injury Anelka occupied a lone role up front.

But as with any Kevin Keegan side, City were always happy to get forward in numbers and Anelka got plenty of support from the lively Shaun Wright-Phillips.

City looked to have fended off the best of Rovers' efforts when they handed them an equaliser on a plate on the stroke of half-time.

Rovers twice came from behind
Rovers twice levelled from corners

A Brett Emerton corner looked destined for the safe hands of Seaman when Sinclair needlessly attempted to get his head to it and only succeeded in glancing it into his own net.

City should have restored their lead 10 minutes after the restart when Anelka slipped the ball through for an unmarked Antoine Sibierski, but his side-footed shot was agonisingly wide.

Moments later City were back in front when Barton showed great desire to win a 50-50 ball in the area and then fire past Friedel.

But within two minutes City showed the other side of their game by gifting another equaliser to Rovers.

From another seemingly harmless Emerton corner the City defence allowing Amoruso a free run to the near post and he headed past Seaman and into an empty net.

Rovers had the chances to go on and win the game, but they were hit by a sucker-punch when Anelka outpaced Amoruso and from a tight angle fired under Friedel to the delight of the visiting fans.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Martin Taylor, Amoruso, Gresko, Emerton, Flitcroft, Tugay, Reid, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Jansen, Johansson, Grabbi, Thompson, Kelly.

Man City: Seaman, Jihai, Sommeil, Distin, Tarnat, Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sinclair, Sibierski, Anelka. Subs: Macken, Berkovic, Tiatto, Dunne, Weaver.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).                                              return to Manchester City