Football: Rovers stunned by Saha strike
Thursday 25 February 1999
Last year, under Dalglish, they reached the final and last night they moved to within two games of a return trip to Wembley when Louis Saha scored the only goal in this fifth-round replay. The reward is a home quarter-final against Everton.
The result extends a dismal record for Blackburn, who have gone out of the Cup by losing at home on the last six occasions, five of them after they had gained replays.
Stripped half bare by injury and ineligibility, Blackburn rarely threatened to knock Newcastle out of a stride personified most elegantly by the German midfielder Dietmar Hamann.
Indeed, Newcastle would have spared their blood pressure if they had taken their chances on the break towards the end. Fortunately for them the goal by Saha, a French striker on loan from Metz and playing only because Alan Shearer was injured, proved enough.
"It should have been more than 1-0," Gullit, the Newcastle manager, said. "Finished. The performance was right. We were in control which pleased me and you never had the feeling we were in trouble."
Rovers, dreadful against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, were an improvement but only really threatened at the extreme ends of the first half.
"We patched it up and that doesn't help," Brian Kidd, their manager, said. "We're continually making four or five changes and it's difficult to create a pattern. It's unfair on the players. It's makeshift."
Kevin Davies should have done better with a header from Nathan Blake's knock-down after three minutes. But, 11 minutes later, off balance and at an acute angle, he did well to frighten John Filan.
It had been a bright start for Rovers, but slowly Newcastle's passing game wrestled control from the more frantic Blackburn. After 15 minutes Filan reacted smartly to parry a 30-yard free-kick after the defensive wall had parted for Hamann, but if he showed sharpness then it was little compared with eight minutes later when he dived low to his left to turn to Temur Ketsbaia's shot round the post.
The impression was that Newcastle were gaining control and that was underlined after 39 minutes when the visitors took the lead. Again Hamann was to provide the pass, 40 yards from right to left into the gap behind Jeff Kenna. Saha surged into that hole, controlled with his chest and then half-volleyed sweetly into the far corner.
This instigated a response from Blackburn and the closest they came to an equaliser arrived a minute later. Kenna's pass was met on the charge by Jason Wilcox, whose touch would have crept in at the near post but for Shay Given's excellent save.
The second half was a tale of unconvincing Blackburn pressure and Newcastle breaks, some of which ought to have produced something more tangible. Never was this more so than in the 66th, when Garry Brady lashed a shot that was saved by Filan and sat up invitingly for Laurent Charvet, who struck the outside of the post. Just before then Blackburn had gambled by bringing on an extra striker, introducing Ashley Ward for Damien Duff.
The decision prompted boos from the home crowd, summing up a bad night for Rovers. Kidd's extended honeymoon could be coming to an end.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Filan; Kenna (Croft, 56), Peacock, Broomes, Davidson; Gillespie, Marcolin, Wilcox, Duff (Ward, 58); Davies, Blake. Substitutes not used: Johnson, Dunn, Flowers (gk).
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Charvet, Dabizas, Howey, Barton; Solano, Hamann, Speed, Brady; Saha, Ketsbaia. Substitutes not used: Lee, Dalglish, Hughes, Griffin, Harper (gk).
Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
WrestleMania 31: Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Sting vs Triple H: NWO, DX and Shawn Michaels return at Wrestlemania 31 as The Game triumphs in flashback to Monday Night Wars
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...
£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportuni...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...