22 Nov 2010

Rovers give new bosses something to smile about

5:42 am on 22 November 2010

Blackburn Rovers gave their new Indian owners an immediate return with a 2-nil victory over Aston Villa that lifted the club five places up the English Premier League football table.

Morten Gamst Pedersen, the Norway midfielder, scored contrasting goals in each half at Ewood Park as Villa suffered their fifth away defeat of the season.

Blackburn, Premier League champions in 1995, were bought by Indian poultry firm Venky's last week in a deal worth 54 million pounds ($NZ 111 million).

Company directors Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao, whose family owns Venky's, were welcomed on to the pitch by Rovers fans before kick-off.

Pedersen struck first nearly two minutes into first-half injury time, when his delivery from a free kick by the touchline was misjudged by Villa keeper Brad Friedel and the ball sailed into the top corner.

Pedersen sealed the three points for Rovers in the 66th minute, reacting sharply from close range to turn in a wayward shot by defender Ryan Nelsen.

Blackburn moved from 16th, one point above the relegation zone, to 11th on 18 points, with Villa in 13th place on 17 points.