Former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari’s English Premier League soccer side Blackburn Rovers is heading for relegation after losing 1-0 at Ewood Park to cash- rich Manchester City on Monday night.
Mwaruwari, a former City striker under Swede Sven Goran Eriksson, was recalled for the match, having spent the last few weeks on the bench, and lasted 71 minutes in the game before being replaced by Nikola Kalinic.
Kalinic and the rest of the team cried foul in injury time when he went down under challenge from City’s Gareth Barry, but the penalty appeal received no response from referee Andre Marriner.
Earlier, they had a highly likely penalty appeal rejected by Marriner when Jason Roberts appeared to have been fouled by City captain Vincent Kompany as they finally ventured into City’s half.
The defeat left Rovers in 16th place with 35 points while Blackpool are a point and a rung below with 34 points, the same as 18th-placed Wigan while the bottom two, Wolves and West Ham United, have 33 and 32 points respectively.
Blackburn had opportunities to take a point and showed commendable spirit despite their lowly league position, but they paid the price for missed chances and now stand only one point clear of the relegation places with four games remaining.
In the match, Edin Dzeko’s first Premier League goal allowed Manchester City to take control of the battle for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Dzeko, who has struggled to make an impact since his £27m move from Wolfsburg in January, made the decisive contribution with the late winner three minutes after coming on as substitute to secure a priceless three points for Roberto Mancini’s FA Cup finalists.
The Bosnian’s goal saw City establish a firm grip on fourth place and open up a four-point gap on closest rivals Tottenham after a performance that relied more on resilience than sparkle at Ewood Park.
This season has been uneventful for the former Warriors skipper, his only biggest impact coming against Liverpool when he lashed a memorable double on January 5 in a 3-1 win.
But he has made sure he scored against the big guns, having opened the scoring in the 1-2 loss to Chelsea at home on October 20 last year.
Benjani also used to score regularly against the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool during his hey-days at Portsmouth, where he had arrived from France’s AJ Auxerre and later at Manchester City.
In Russia, Musa Mguni’s Terek Grozny dropped into 12th place in the top-flight after losing 1-0 away to Rostov over the weekend. The former Motor Action striker saw no action in the game.