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Updated: May 9, 2012 01:02 IST

Blackburn shown the door

Agencies
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FOWL PLAY: Fans threw a chicken, dressed in Blackburn Rovers colours, onto the pitch to protest against Venky's ownership of the club during the crucial match against Wigan Athletic on Monday.
AFP
FOWL PLAY: Fans threw a chicken, dressed in Blackburn Rovers colours, onto the pitch to protest against Venky's ownership of the club during the crucial match against Wigan Athletic on Monday.

Blackburn Rovers was relegated from the English Premier League with a match to spare after a 1-0 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic on Monday.

In a game it had to win to prolong its 11-year stay in the top flight, Blackburn was unable to find a way through Wigan's defence.

Blackburn had to win to have a chance of keeping its survival bid going to Sunday's final day of the season, when it travels to Chelsea.

But it was north-west rival Wigan which ensured its Premier League status when Antolin Alcaraz headed in the only goal of the game three minutes from time to remove the threat of relegation hanging over Roberto Martinez's side.

Rovers went into the match six points from safety but it was always on the backfoot against a Wigan side that confirmed its top-flight place when Paraguayan defender Alcaraz's late header earned a sixth win in eight matches.

Despite the knowledge that a win would keep its survival hopes alive, the match was dominated by supporter protests against Rovers manager Steve Kean and unpopular owner Venky's, an Indian poultry firm, who arrived in November 2010 promising big signings such as Ronaldinho and David Beckham.

Even before kick-off there were chants for Kean to be sacked and they continued throughout the game.

A chicken, dressed in Blackburn colours, was thrown onto the pitch in the early stages and just after half-time a supporter sprinted across the pitch and threw his season ticket in the air when he reached the dug-outs.

After a surprise run of results, which included victories over Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, Wigan only needed a point to confirm its Premier League status.

But instead it was the visitor which began like the team that needed a win at a rain-swept Ewood Park, with Victor Moses hitting a shot off-target and Franco di Santo breaking through only to be denied by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson.

In command

Wigan was always in control of possession and after Moses broke away from Scott Dann his shot was turned wide by Robinson.

Morten Gamst Pedersen fired a free-kick well over the bar for the host and Shaun Maloney also dragged wide after Blackburn failed to clear the Scot's free-kick.

Wigan, whose owner Dave Whelan is a former Blackburn player, should have taken the lead when di Santo was sent into space down the right and sent over a cross to the far post that Moses headed wide from six yards.

After the interval, Wigan's Chilean winger Jean Beausejour had a drive deflected wide and Gary Caldwell pulled off a fine block from Yakubu after Dann headed down Junior Hoilett's corner at the other end.

Yakubu just failed to get a touch on Pedersen's free-kick as the host finally generated some pressure.

After di Santo dragged wide, Maloney also had a free-kick deflected over the bar before Anthony Modeste shot straight at Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi from 20 yards.

Moses was shown a yellow card after he went down under Pedersen's challenge in the area as Wigan looked for a breakthrough.

Al Habsi produced a scrambling save from Hoilett's scuffed shot and Robinson pulled off a fine double save from Moses and James McCarthy at the other end. Maloney also wasted a fine chance when he lifted a header over the bar from Emmerson Boyce's cross.

But three minutes before the end a Beausejour corner was met with enough power by Alcaraz's header to beat Robinson's despairing dive.

Angry Blackburn supporters invaded the pitch at the final whistle after Rovers' relegation was confirmed.

The result: Blackburn 0 lost to Wigan 1 (Alcaraz 87).

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In the good old days it used to be said: "Country first then the rest". Football In India needs a major push. Indian billionaires, millionaires and trillionaires could do a lot to promote the Beautiful Game among the teeming masses in our vast country.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: May 9, 2012 at 11:15 IST
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