Blackburn holds Man Utd to 1-1 tie

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Defending champion Blackburn Rovers hit back to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 tie at Old Trafford in the League Cup semifinal on Tuesday thanks to a dramatic

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Defending champion Blackburn Rovers hit back to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 tie at Old Trafford in the League Cup semifinal on Tuesday thanks to a dramatic injury time block by teenage defender James McEveley. Four minutes after Paul Scholes had given the Reds a 57th minute first leg lead, David Thompson's diving header earned Graeme Souness' team a deserved draw and Rovers will face United on level terms when they meet in the second leg in two weeks' time. United would have gone into the second leg 2-1 ahead but for an amazing stop by 17-year-old McEveley. In the second minute of injury time, Ole Gunner Solskjaer beat Brad Friedel with a shot from the left, but the teenager charged back to block it on the line with his chest. "It was a great block from the defender," said United manager Alex Ferguson. In the March 2 final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, the overall winner meets either Liverpool or division one Sheffield United who meet at Bramall Lane on Wednesday. While the result meant Manchester United remains unbeaten in 16 semifinals under Alex Ferguson with 10 wins and six ties, it was a poor outcome for the Reds who were indecisive in front of goal. Rovers fielded four of the players who won the title last season by beating Tottenham, 2-1, while the only player on the Reds lineup to have won the trophy was Ryan Giggs in 1992. Blackburn lost England international midfielder David Dunn with a calf muscle injury after only 19 minutes and he was replaced by former United winger Keith Gillespie United 'keeper Fabien Barthez dived to his left to fist away a 25-yard shot from Australian midfielder Lucas Neill in the 35th minute and then was thankful to see a long range shot from another former Reds star, Andy Cole, flash past his post. At the other end, Ruud van Nistelrooy should have scored when a slick move put him clear with only goalkeeper Friedel to beat but the Dutchman shot straight at the American. It was Friedel's first save of the game and the two teams went into half time goalless. Van Nistelrooy missed another chance from barely three yards when he turned a cross from Beckham wide of the near post. But United went ahead in the 57th minute when Juan Sebastian Veron found Van Nistelrooy with a well-placed quick free kick from his own half. The Dutchman waited for Beckham to support on the right and, when the ball came in, Scholes' first attempt was blocked by Friedel and the England midfielder reacted to turn home the rebound. The lead lasted four minutes however when Dwight Yorke, another Reds striker, fed Gillespie on the right. His low cross was met by Thompson, whose diving header flashed past Barthez and his left hand post. Friedel blocked a powerful strike by Gary Neville but Rovers almost went ahead with nine minutes to go when United failed to clear a cross and Wes Brown headed off the line from Gillespie. Rovers were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Neill was fouled by Mikael Silvestre two minutes from the end but referee Uriah Rennie waved away his appeal and showed the Australian a yellow card for diving. It was a fifth yellow card for Neill, which means a one-game ban. (AP)

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