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Blackburn 1 United 1

United never do things the easy way and it seems winning the title this season will follow suit. When Everton drew at Wigan last week it looked as if the battle was won, but 88 minutes into this match Chelsea had the upper hand in the race going into the final straight. A loss at Blackburn would have been potentially disasterous, but a draw means the Reds can go to Stamford Bridge and afford to slip up- a huge difference. So thank you Carlos Tevez for another late goal that may just make the difference.

We arrived in Blackburn a few hours before kick off and killed some time in a small local pub rammed full of Reds. Blackburn away is unique in that there are 7000 away tickets and it feels almost like a home game. You did not see a Blackburn shirt anwhere and every pub/ street was full of red and white bar scarves after the appeal to turn this into the ’70’s retro away game’. Our seats were in the lower tier and even during the warm up the sea of red and white scarves was an amazing sight, coupled with the noise of the Reds in the upper tier cascading down to us. The teams were announced and it looked good - a first choice back four and an amazingly attacking combination of Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Giggs, Carrick and Scholes.

The game kicked off and United controlled it for the first twenty minutes,  with quick passing and a firm grip on the game. But Friedel was not being tested and Blackburn began to counter like an away team. And then of course they got a lucky break, the ball broke, and United were 1-0 down. Games can change after a goal and Blackburn gained in confidence. Despite all United’s good play it was our keeper having the make the saves, with Friedel only called into action once when he somehow got to Ronaldo’s header. The half time whistle went, we were thoroughly deflated, and this would be a real test of the players in the second half.

Half way through the second half things had not improved, despite the introduction of Nani. United looked jaded, Rooney could hardly walk after sustaining an injury and time was ticking away. And then, as if by magic, United decided to wake and started bombarding the Blackburn goal. Three clear penalty appeals and five stunning Friedel saves later United somehow still had not scored. The referee was a disgrace, Friedel was a hero, but United refused to give up and threw everything at the Blackburn goal like true champions. It paid off when Nani’s corner found Scholes, who flicked it on to Tevez, and the scores were levelled.

That goal was reminiscent of Steve Bruce in 1993. A goal that will have rocked Chelsea and leaves United in poll position. Let’s not be complacent, but this goal was huge and could be the one that seals the title. Slightly more worrying is the amount of wasted chances and drop in form, but time to put that discussion on the backburner until after the Nou Camp. We’re all off to sunny Spain, to see Man United….

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