The Red Bull drinks company has changed the name of the team, the stadium and even the club's traditional colours since assuming control of Salzburg yet their influence only goes so far. True to the advertising slogan for the energy formula, Giovanni Trapattoni's team were given their wings at Ewood Park last night, but only to take flight from the Uefa Cup as the only really stimulating performance came from Blackburn Rovers.
While Mark Hughes' side had brought a slender advantage into this first round, second leg - courtesy of a 2-2 draw at the rechristened Red Bull Arena - they also carried an understandable sense of paranoia given their appalling record in Europe. Before last night Rovers had won just one of 17 Continental fixtures.
"We have not covered ourselves in glory in Europe in years gone by," said their manager, but from the moment Benni McCarthy slipped home his fourth goal in eight games for his new club their place in next Tuesday's draw for the group stage was not in doubt.
With David Bentley executing a fabulous volley from fully 30 yards to complete the victory with panache, delirium ensued. Instead of an inferiority complex the home side departed with delusions of winning the competition outright although, in fairness, the grandiose claims were fuelled by the legendary former Juventus, Internazionale and Bayern Munich coach himself. "I congratulated Mark afterwards and told him to go far in the Uefa Cup," said Trapattoni. "If Blackburn keep this open attitude they have a very good chance of going all the way to the final."
Hughes will settle for the guarantee of extra European nights for now. "We have made it a priority this year to get into the group stage and progress even further, and you could see that in our play. We controlled the game from start to finish," he boasted with complete justification.
Once Blackburn found their composure, their superiority shone. McCarthy beat goalkeeper Timo Ochs at his near post in the 32nd minute before, 13 minutes after the restart, Bentley took a header from the lively Shabani Nonda down upon his chest and lifted a superb volley into the far corner. Blackburn's European hoodoo was banished.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill; Bentley, Savage (Mokoena, 61), Tugay (Gallagher, 83), Pedersen; Nonda, McCarthy (Jeffers, 83). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), McEveley, Peter, Gray.
Red Bull Salzburg (4-2-3-1): Ochs; Bodnar, Vargas, Linke, Dudic; Carboni, Kovac (Aufhauser, 69); Tiffert (Jezek, 59), Zickler (Janocko, 65), Vonlanthen; Janko. Substitutes not used: Ozcan (gk), Lokvenc, Meyer, Winklhofer.
Referee: J F Lopes Ferreira (Portugal).Reuse content