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Ronaldo rolls over Rovers
Winger scores twice for champions as Dunn sees red




Ronaldo: Decisive double


A first-half double from Cristiano Ronaldo sent Manchester United to the top of the table as the champions eased to a 2-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers.


Last season's Footballer of the Year struck twice in the space of 90 seconds, heading home a Ryan Giggs corner and then finishing off a sweeping move.

Rovers had David Dunn sent off early in the second half for two bookable offences and the game tailed off from that point.

Edwin van der Sar was rarely tested in the United goal, aside from watching a Christopher Samba thumper hit the post, and former Red Devils striker Mark Hughes cut a frustrated figure on his return to Old Trafford.

Rovers could easily have been ahead before Ronaldo sent them to the floor.

The nearest they came was when Samba belted a shot against van der Sar's left-hand post, with the Dutchman totally beaten.

United were left to complain at referee Chris Foy's failure to spot Dunn's foul on Ronaldo on the edge of the Blackburn box which offered Samba his opportunity.


Disbelief

However, given the way Hughes spent the final 15 minutes of the opening period shaking his head in disbelief at the number of borderline decisions that went against his side, he would not have been impressed at the hosts' moans.

And by half-time, Hughes had plenty to occupy his mind too.

With Tevez striking up such a formidable partnership with the sidelined Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo has been left largely in the shadows this term.

Yet he remains an inspiring and electric performer. Confidence is clearly not a problem either, so he was hardly going to be deterred by a couple of erratic efforts which led to free-kick duties being handed over to Owen Hargreaves at one point.

Having won the corner initially with a shot that flicked off Dunn, Ronaldo rose highest to meet Giggs' set piece and this time Bentley, who had already hacked one shot off the line from the Portugal winger, could not keep it out

Within 60 seconds, Blackburn were two down, unable to withstand the sheer pace of United's brutal counter-attack.

Once Brett Emerton had been unable to do any more than nod Rio Ferdinand's clearance straight up in the air, Rovers were doomed.

Louis Saha, on his first Premier League start since February and a man with much responsibility on his shoulders in Rooney's absence, was onto the loose ball in a flash, prodding it to Tevez who tore into the Blackburn half.


Harsh call

Saha kept motoring but it was Ronaldo to his right who received the perfect pass Tevez delivered with the outside of his right boot. Brad Friedel did his best to deny the wide-man but ultimately he failed.

If Hughes was unhappy before half-time, he was positively fuming seven minutes after the restart when his side were reduced to 10 men by Dunn's dismissal.

The former England international had already picked up one harsh booking for hauling back Tevez, so once Foy had deemed his late tackle on Saha as deliberate, a red card was automatic.

It was a harsh call given the severity of the two offences combined and Hughes could not hide his disgust.

Dunn's exit effectively ended any hope of Blackburn preserving their unbeaten away record, although they remained determined enough to prevent United adding to their tally.


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