Premier League – Blake screamer stuns United


Burnley scored their first points of the new Premier League season with a famous 1-0 victory over champions Manchester United at Turf Moor.

Robbie Blake‘s stunning first-half volley was enough to hand Burnley their first win in the top flight for 33 years.

United, missing a number of first-choice defenders including Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, were out of sorts but can have only themselves to blame for defeat after Michael Carrick squandered the chance to equalise with a missed penalty just before the break.

But for all United’s shortcomings – nervy at the back, far from commanding in midfield and largely toothless up front – the result proved Burnley will be a force to be reckoned with on home turf.

That said, United enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges – although that was hardly a surprise given the different footballing worlds the two sides have occupied in recent times.

Michael Owen was handed his first start in a United shirt, Alex Ferguson asking the striker to play up front alongside Wayne Rooney in a traditional 4-4-2 with Dimitar Berbatov left on the bench.

And it was Owen who nearly broke the deadlock after just two minutes. But his stab at Patrice Evra‘s near post cross did little to add weight to the clammer for him to return to the England set-up.

Owen did have the ball in the back of the net two minutes later, but his effort at the second time of asking, was disallowed for off-side.

After weathering the early storm, Owen Coyle’s side began to come into the game and Blake stunned the champions with a barn-storming 19th minute volley which arrowed into the top right hand corner, leaving Ben Foster no chance at all, after Evra had failed to get enough distance on a clearing header.

It could easily have been their second of the night, as Martin Paterson had gone close just moments earlier, rounding Foster only to see his effort blocked by Edwin van der Sar‘s stand-in.

United did fashion chances to draw level before the break.

Owen was again guilty of a bad miss, this time with a totally mistimed header from Wes Brown‘s well-delivered cross, before Carrick was given a great opportunity to draw level with a penalty kick after Evra was upended by Blake in the box.

But Brian Jensen saved Carrick’s spot kick, a big hand reaching out to frustrate United, not for the last time on the night.

The Danish keeper, announced as man of the match by the stadium announcer as time ran out, came to Burnley’s rescue on several more occasions after the break.

Park Ji-Sung saw a shot pawed away on 67 minutes before Ryan Giggs was denied by the big Dane three minutes later, following a neat one-two with Rooney.

Substitute Antonio Valencia had earlier made a mess of a far post header and the pressure on Burnley’s goal increased as the full-time whistle approached, but United never really looked like getting a later leveller.

Instead, celebrations were left to the home faithful, who were able to enjoy a famous night.

Mike Hytner / Eurosport