Sunday 28 September 2003, 3:00pm at Ewood Park, Blackburn
Barclays Premier League
Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers
Fulham FC
Boa Morte 5'; Saha 56'

45'+16 Yellow Card

Garry Flitcroft Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Kerimoglou Tugay Card was given for a foul

28' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Nils-Eric Johansson
Off:Markus Babbel

58' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Corrado Grabbi
Off:Vratislav Gresko

58' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Kerimoglou Tugay
Off:Barry Ferguson

5' Goal

Luis Boa Morte

56' Goal

Louis Saha

25' Yellow Card

Junichi Inamoto Card was given for a foul

45' Yellow Card

Zat Knight Card was given for a foul

76' Yellow Card

Dean Leacock Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Luis Boa Morte Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dean Leacock
Off:Moritz Volz

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Malik Buari
Off:Luis Boa Morte

Fulham's pace up front proved the difference as Chris Coleman's side secured an impressive 2-0 victory at Ewood Park.

This was a match won by Chris Coleman's tactical acumen. 

In Luis Boa Morte and Louis Saha, Fulham have two of the quickest forwards in the business - and the Londoners used them perfectly. Defending in depth and packing the midfield, Fulham deprived Blackburn the space to play and then sprang the trap when Rovers were sucked in towards the ball. 

There was a goal each for Luis and Louis, the first a fifth-minute tap-in and the second a classic breakaway 10 minutes after the break. Blackburn had been naive in defence and bereft of ideas going forward.  

Only when two behind, and desperate, did they start to play - but by then it was too late. Rovers boss Graeme Souness must have hoped that restoring Barry Ferguson and Garry Flitcroft to midfield would have changed things for the better after the disappointing defeat in Turkey in midweek.  

But almost from the kick-off Fulham controlled matters, and disaster struck for Blackburn in the fifth minute.

Steed Malbranque went on a searing run down the right and crossed; Brad Friedel and Martin Taylor both went for the ball and then left it for the other, and Boa Morte suddenly found himself presented with an empty net four yards out. He will rarely have scored a simpler goal. 

Blackburn probed for an equaliser but struggled to find a way through, with Zat Knight an imperious presence in the Fulham defence. Brett Emerton fired wide after a promising run, but Fulham continued to look dangerous on the break. 

Junichi Inamoto threatened from Boa Morte's angled pass, but Vratislav Gresko blocked well. Blackburn's cause was not helped when Markus Babbel hobbled off to be replaced by Nils-Eric Johansson. 

The match continued to be poor fare with both sides unable to manufacture openings, and when Boa Morte did outstrip Taylor for pace and was nudged over in the box by Emerton Blackburn were lucky not to concede a penalty. 

David Thompson finally provided something for the Blackburn crowd to shout about when he cut in from the left past Moritz Volz but blasted his drive wide. 

In first-half injury-time Emerton was fouled on the right-hand edge of the area, Knight picking up a caution as a result, but Edwin van der Sar was equal to Gresko's free-kick. 

Lorenzo Amoruso's superbly-struck long pass early in the second half led to Gresko driving at goal, but Inamoto's block took the sting out of the shot. Matt Jansen finally made an impact, stretching to turn Ferguson's ball across goal but just behind Cole; then at the other end Saha was a foot away from latching on to Boa Morte's cross. 

Little was going Blackburn's way, though, and when Cole burst toward goal the ball flicked away off his heel. Fulham's pace up front proved decisive when Inamoto's long ball from his own half caught Rovers sleeping, Saha shrugged off Amoruso's attempt to pull him back and then cut back inside the Italian defender before finishing expertly from the edge of the area. 

Souness immediately threw caution to the wind, bringing on Corrado Grabbi instead of Gresko to make it three up front and replacing Ferguson with Tugay.

Rovers looked more threatening, and van der Sar did well to tip Emerton's 25-yard drive past the post.  Then Grabbi and Thompson sliced open the visitors, but Jansen could not get there to finish. 

Emerton forced a reaction save out of van der Sar after Grabbi had provided more quality down the left, and then Johansson was lucky not to concede a penalty when tangling with Lee Clark. As the clock ticked down Cole looped a header into van der Sar's hands; then the striker came agonisingly close, lobbing the Fulham goalkeeper only to see the ball bounce against the crossbar.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 28 September 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Ewood Park, Blackburn
Attendance: 21,985

Referee: Matt Messias

Blackburn Rovers

Line-up: Friedel; Gresko (Grabbi 58'), Taylor, Amoruso, Babbel (Johansson 28'); Emerton, Ferguson (Tugay 58'), Thompson, Flitcroft; Jansen, Cole

Unused substitutes: Kelly, Yorke


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz (Leacock 45'), Goma, Knight, Bonnissel; Malbranque, Pembridge, Inamoto, Clark, Boa Morte (Buari 84'); Saha

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Melville, Djetou

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 7 17
2 Chelsea 6 16
3 Manchester United 7 16
4 Birmingham City 6 14
5 Southampton 7 12
6 Manchester City 6 11
7 Fulham 6 11
8 Liverpool 7 11
9 Portsmouth 7 9
10 Everton 7 8
11 Blackburn Rovers 7 8
12 Charlton Athletic 7 8
13 Aston Villa 7 7
14 Middlesbrough 7 7
15 Bolton Wanderers 7 7
16 Leicester City 7 5
17 Leeds United 7 5
18 Tottenham Hotspur 6 4
19 Newcastle United 6 3
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 7 2
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2)
  • 1Brad Friedel
  • 18Vratislav Gresko
  • 5Martin Taylor
  • 23Lorenzo Amoruso
  • Markus Babbel
  • 7Brett Emerton
  • 16Barry Ferguson
  • David Thompson
  • Garry Flitcroft
  • 17Matt Jansen
  • 8Andrew Cole
  • Alan Kelly
  • Nils-Eric Johansson
  • 5Kerimoglou Tugay
  • 19Dwight Yorke
  • Corrado Grabbi
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 18Jerome Bonnissel
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • Malik Buari