Sport

Weekly sports round up; Fist of Fury: The Sports Buff

By Ayyaz Malik 

Boxing

Manchester-born Tyson Fury spectacularly became a two-time world heavyweight champion after beating American Deontay Wilder with a knockout win in the seventh round.

American fighter Wilder (34) was looking to win this fight between the two men and defend his title for a record 11th time, but as far as Wilder was concerned, that was sadly not to be. 

The former world title who of course came to Yorkshire last year just had no match for the man who calls himself The Gypsy King. Usually, The Bronze Bomber would rely on his power to get him out of trouble in the past, which it has done, fights against fighters like Bermane Stiverne. 

On Sunday morning, however, that golden punch didn’t arrive as Wilder was floored in the third and fifth rounds. In a match that promised so much for both men, it turned out to be Fury who would rise to the occasion. 

Deontay Wilder just wasn’t able to exert any influence on the fight. The only way this one ended was when Wilder’s corner threw the towel on behalf of their fighter to end the fight. The 34-year old seemed initially irked by the decision, but even he later admitted: “the better man won”. 

After the fight, the victorious Fury called out fellow Brit Anthony Joshua, who is the world champion of the three other belts. If the two men do face-off, the winner stands the chance of unifying the belts. 

The last man to do that was fellow Brit Lennox Lewis. As glamorous as a fight between Fury and Joshua could be, both men have a few obstacles to overcome to make the fight happen. 

For two-time champion Joshua, he might need to face mandatory challenger Kubarat Pulev and for Fury, he too might need to face mandatory challenger, Derek Chisora. Tyson Fury might also get lured into a third fight with Deontay Wilder. 

Should we get any news on a potential fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, we will be sure to let you know. 

Football

Champions Manchester City strengthened their grip on second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win over third-placed Leicester City. City did miss a penalty through record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, but strike partner Gabriel Jesus was able to score the vital goal to give The Citizens the win. 

Neighbours Manchester United were able to capitalise on Tottenham’s slip up (a 2-1 defeat by Chelsea) as they beat struggling Watford 3-0. The win for The Red Devils sees Ole’s men back up to fifth, just three points behind Chelsea. 

As for Watford, The Hornets now appeared to be set for relegation, which some would have thought wouldn’t have happened when boss Nigel Pearson became the third manager to take the Vicarage Road hot seat this season. 

Looking forward

There are other things to look out for in the world of sport such as the start of the Pakistan Super League. The tournament, which is in its fifth year, is just five games in, and already seems to be set for a tournament to remember. 

Players such as Alex Hales, Luke Ronchi and Colin Monroe will be competing in Pakistan’s domestic cricket showpiece, providing evidence that Pakistan can host a cricket tournament to a decent standard. 

In the early stages, all matches will be played in Lahore and Karachi. 

In the rugby, beaten world cup-finalists England, ended Ireland’s grand slam hopes with a 24-12 win at Twickenham. Eddie Jones, who got embroiled in a race row this week, would have been delighted to have been able allow his actions on the rugby field take centre stage.

The kicking of the ever reliable Owen Farrell, helped  England open up a commanding 17-0 half time lead. The Irish did rally in the second half, but Eddie Jones’ England held on to move into second in the table and leaving France as the only side who could could achieve the Grand Slam.

See you same time next week. Before we go, please be sure to check the weekly sports round up video here;  https://www.smartlightpeople.com/others/fury-dismantles-wilder-weekly-sports-round-up-the-sports-buff/.

Knight In Shining Armour

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England’s women get their new era off to the best possible start with a series win over Pakistan’s women.

 

England’s women made their highest one-day total and secured the series against Pakistan with an emphatic 212-run win at New Road.

The English women hit 39 fours and 11 sixes in 378-5, with 132 made in the final 10 overs.
Openers Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont scored maiden ODI centuries in a stand of 235 and Natalie Sciver struck six sixes in a 33-ball 80, in the process of their record-breaking knock. A mixture of calm batting and unfortunately poor fielding helped hosts England to a routine win in the end.

Anya Shrubsole took 4-19 as Pakistan were bowled out for 166 in the 48th over, despite some form of resistance from Bismah Maroof who scored a very well played 61. Sadly for Pakistan’s women besides Javeria Khan and skipper Sana Mir, no other batsmen was ever able to threaten the English bowling attack or at least make them ponder.

The Pakistani women were a bit too slow in their approach, as a result, there were far too many dot balls in their innings which resulted in the emphatic loss. A good start to life under new captain Heather Knights reign, but I am sure there are more difficult assignments to come such as the  upcoming world cup on home soil.

England, who won the first one-day international by seven wickets at Grace Road on Tuesday after having endured the frustration of the match being delayed a day, will attempt to complete a series whitewash in the final match at Taunton on Monday .The three-match Twenty20 series starts at Bristol on 3rd July.

Dan The Man For England

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A last-gasp Daniel Sturridge goal helped England get their Euro 2016 campaign back on track as The Three Lions edged out Wales 2-1 in a game that was dubbed ‘the battle of Britain’. England came into this game knowing that one result was only really going to suffice, victory.

For football fans from the UK, much build-up wouldn’t have been needed for this game, but with Slovakia defeating Russia yesterday the pressure on England to win grew even more.

Coming into the game Wales who impressively beat Slovakia in the last game after being pegged back, made two changes to their side. Jonny Williams and Dave Edwards made way for Hal Robson-Kane and Joe Ledley respectfully.

As for England,their team showed no changes in a match that anything other than a win would see the Three Lions all but knocked out of the tournament. The match itself in the early stages after quite a big build up, disappointed as England struggled to assert themselves in the game and Wales were looking a little nervous.

The 1996 semi-finalists were lacking a cutting edge and an end product for all their possession they were having. Raheem Sterling though however, who was later taken off had a glorious chance to put his side in front after skying over when well place to convert Adam Lallana’s centre.

That miss, though, however, wasn’t going to be costly for the English. There was a scare for England before hand as Wales’ star player Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a stunner of a free-kick.

Just like in the Slovakia game, England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s positioning was questionable as a free-kick from some 40 yards shouldn’t be really finding the back of the net.

England were no doubt a bit rattled, manager Roy Hodgson who has a wealth of experience, really needed to draw upon that now as his side were staring down the barrel.

Roy’s men were in need of a good team talk, some might even say a ‘Carlsberg team-talk’. One thing was for certain if the score stayed the same England would have been all but out of the tournament.

If you are of the England persuasion, however, you would be happy in the knowledge that didn’t happen. Knowing England needed to change the momentum of the game. Hodgson made what would turn out to be two very inspirational substitutions.

In the first-half Wales’ back three weren’t tested enough, but with the introduction of subs Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, England had more pace in the side and were eventually starting to ask questions of the Welsh backline.

Sturridge, in particular, seemed to make his intent clear, he wanted to be more direct. Although the Liverpool man saw a few speculative efforts go well over the bar initially, the former Manchester City and Chelsea would make go on to make a key contribution in the end.

Fellow sub-Jamie Vardy would help get England back into the game by scrambling in an equaliser. That goal was the least England deserved at that point, from that point onwards there only looked to be one winner, England.

Wales who hadn’t offered much going forward were in need of a firm rearguard to keep out the wave after wave of England attacks. The Welsh were getting deeper and deeper in their own half after the England attacks intensified.

An England winner looked inevitable and the winner duly came from the boot of Daniel Sturridge, in the 92nd minute. From sadness, the English fans were ecstatic as their team pulled off a dramatic injury time win.

Quite a different story from the Russia game, what a difference a week makes.

Bradford Disability Football Club Info Finals Of FA Cup!

BDFC players pose for team photo

BDFC players pose for team photo

Bradford in Finals of FA Cup!

Bradford Disability Football Club (BDFC) have been confirmed as finalists in the People’s Disability FA Cup! The West Yorkshire side confirmed their place in the final by wining the West Riding FA Disability Festival in April – but also received a supporting nomination from the County FA. Bradford will now battle it out for the prestigious award in Manchester on Monday 25th May.

The People’s FA Cup is a five a side format where around 20 disability festivals have been held throughout England. The target for this year has been the lower ability levels which is aimed at inspiring participation on a regular basis. BBC Get Inspired will be filming at the finals day and sharing the stories of not just the disability teams but all the teams entered into competition. The winning teams will be invited to the FA Cup Final at Wembley to enjoy the match and receive a pitch side presentation of their trophy on 30th May.

BDFC was founded in 2002 with an initial grant of £1,000 and 8 players. The BDFC now has over 135 members aged from six to 60 – and is growing in its profile and it’s membership every year. The club has 11 pan disability teams, 9 adult teams: junior teams both under 16’s and 13’s. All of the adult teams participate in the ability counts leagues in the West Riding County FA and the league three team, who are the lower ability team have already been crowned ability counts league winners for 2014/15 season and were presented this by Phil Parkinson at their presentation night on 1st May.

Paul Jubb who is both Head Coach at BDF C and the Disability Officer for Bradford City’s Community Foundation said “This is an amazing achievement for the players, it gives them that sense of pride and team spirit as well as a great day out! I think getting through this year means more to them given all the excitement the players enjoyed watching their home team Bradford City make it to the quarter finals of the FA Cup this year. ”

James Doyle, Disability Development Officer at the West Riding County FA said, “It is great achievement for Bradford DFC to be representing the West Riding County Football Association at the People Cup national finals. Bradford DFC are always really supportive of their players and regularly have representation in the GB Mencap team who play in the European Championships each year. In addition to this BDFC are core to the disability football development programme in the county supporting events throughout the season, so it is great for them to get some recognition through the Peoples Cup. The clubs achievements to date are testament to the hard work of the players, coaches and those behind the scenes. The West Riding /County FA wish them all the best at the upcoming finals”

Pujara To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Pujara Set To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Former Derbyshire batsmen and Indian international Cheteshwar Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire after Younus Khan pulled out in the last minute. Pujara who has blossomed in the international arena after Rahul Dravid’s retirement, replaces former Pakistan skipper Khan who has made himself available for his country’s up and coming tour of Bangladesh.

Younus Khan had only agreed the deal to join the county champions last month – but the lure of international cricket proved to much. The Pakistan number three had been on the fringes of his country’s world cup squad, so maybe this decision from the 37 year old is a way of trying to force himself back into contention after all-rounder Harris Sohail seems to have made the number position his own.

As good of a player Younus Khan is – it’s fair to say that the Tykes have a fantastic replacement in Pujara. Indian batsmen Pujara has a very impressive batting average of 57.01- and also has scored 8,724 runs in first class cricket – but the most impressive thing about the 27 year old right handed batsmen is his temperament.

The Indian number 3’s battling qualities and his resilience whilst at the crease will win the hearts of the Headingley faithful no doubt. After all it’s not as if Pujara doesn’t have previous experience in English county cricket , he did have a stint for Derbyshire as well.

Azhar ALI Set To Be Appointed Pakistan Skipper

Azhar Ali is set to become the new captain of Pakistan's ome day side. The 30 year old replaces Misbah Ul-Haq who retired from one day internationals after this world cup.

Azhar Ali is set to become the new captain of Pakistan’s ome day side. The 30 year old replaces Misbah Ul-Haq who retired from one day internationals after this world cup.

The ongoing cricket world cup has not only been one of the best in living memory, it’s also going to the be end of some of the greatest players careers. Kumar Sangakarra, Mahela Jayawardena, Michael Clarke and Pakistan’s Mr reliable Misbah Ul-Haq are to name some cricketing greats who will no longer be operating in the one day arena after this world cup.

To replace such players is always going to be tough – but in Pakistan’s case they will need to replace Misbah Ul-Haq in more ways than one. The 40 year old who has overseen test wins over England and Australia on ‘neutral’ soil deserves a lot of credit in his time as captain of Pakistan’s one day team.

Although Misbah will be still playing in tests the 40 year old leaves a void in the middle of the Pakistan one day batting line up batting, he also leaves the Pakistani’s with an experienced player short with leadership qualities in the middle order of their batting.

Often criticised for his captaincy, Misbah Ul-Haq took his beleaguered side into the tournament – and did well. Opening defeats to India and West Indies never helps – but the way they roared into the quarter finals, which included a thrilling win over South Africa deserves huge credit.

In life you can never keep everyone happy – and Misbah will know that – but having scored 5,000 with an impressive batting average, it’s fair to say that the people who criticise the Pakistan captain are being harsh.

All good things must come to an end they say – and with Misbah Ul-Haq no spring chicken at the ripe old age of 40, the need to replace Misbah was always inevitable. Many replacements were touted such as Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shazhad – but with both of these players they have gone missing when their country has needed them the most.

Although both of these players are destined for greatness – and the argument is that if either Akmal or Shazhad are made captain it will improve their game with the responsibility, Pakistan have intact gone for 30 year old Azhar Ali.

A surprising choice may say considering Ali hasn’t been involved in the Pakistan one day squad for two years – but the calmness he ensues is the main factor what seems to have swung the opinion of the Pakistan cricket board.

Ali has scored hundreds against England and Australia – so the 30 year old does possess the temperament and skill when play against the top sides. In fact Azhar Ali does posses a very impressive average of 41 in one day internationals despite only playing 14 one dayers.

Selecting players as captain who have been in the international wilderness isn’t something unheard of. Players such as Rashid Latif and Waqar Younis have been selected as captains of the national side after being in the wilderness on the international scene.

As a matter of fact England indeed did the same trick with Alistair Cook – and initially that appointment was a master stroke as the three lions topped the one day rankings.

In Azhar Ali’s case he has captained the likes of Wahab Riaz and Nasir Jamshed in the U19 world cup – so is seen as a popular choice by Pakistan’s players themselves. The main reason Pakistan opted for Ali was due top the fact that both out going captain Misbah Ul-Haq and coach Waqar Younis are both impressed with Ali’s calm persona. It’s not as if Azhar Ali is being thrown at the deep end as Ali has captained plenty of sides domestically – but the Pakistani captiancy will be a test even for the ‘calm’ Azhar Ali.

The Juan And Only

Manchester United's players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United’s players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Juan Mata scored twice as Manchester United ruined Steven Gerrard’s final Merseyside derby with a just about deserved 2-1 win in the big Sunday lunchtime game.

The hosts who’s last defeat came against the Red Devils in December, were unchanged – which meant club captain Gerrard would have to come off the bench to appear in this one. As for the visitors United who looked to have returned to form after an impressive win over Tottenham last week, they make just the single change as Ashley Young comes in – but the returning Angel Di Maria who was sent off in the FA Cup against Arsenal starts this one from the bench.

As for the match itself, United got out of the blocks the quicker. The visitors midfield of Fellaini, Carrick, Mata and Young were slick in their passing – and were operating at the tempo which blew away Tottenham last week.

Liverpool had no answer – and despite having the majority of the possession, it was indeed Louis Van Gaal’s side who looked more fluent in attack – and it was a little of surprise that United would take the lead in the 14th minute.

Juan Mata who was brilliant in last weeks win at Old Trafford, was equally as brilliant here. The Spaniard who had been subject of transfer speculation at the start of the season , latched on to a fantastic Ander Herrera through ball- and beat the on rushing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a brilliantly placed finish into the bottom corner.

The visitors at the point were in complete control – but rather naively took their foot off the pedal, which allowed the hosts to come back into the game. After going a goal down Liverpool’s response was good as Adam Lalana missed a great chance to level the scores before halftime.

The former Southampton captain who earned a reputation for scoring goals by arriving late in the box did that here – but disappointingly fired wide when maybe he should have scored. That missed chance was one of the last bits of action of the first half as United went in at the break a goal up.

Liverpool who have been in brilliant for since that defeat to United were in dire need of shaking things up in midfield. So who better to bring on at the start of the second half than club legend Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper who has only just returned from a hamstring injury, would have been determined to end his associations in Merseyside derbies on a high – but there was no fairy tale ending for the Liverpool captain here.

Gerrard who was brought on to provide a calmness into the Liverpool midfield that was lacking the first half, inexcusably lost his head – and was sent off. The 34 year old Gerrard who had barely been on the pitch for more than two minutes was involved in a 50/50 challenge with United’s Herrera – and then rather foolishly stamped on the United midfielder’s leg, which didn’t go unnoticed, all be it with some assistance by the referee’s assistant.

That Red card was to prove costly as Juan Mata scored with a wonderful goal to apparently put the game beyond doubt. The Spaniard started a well worked move – and the 28 year old passed to Di Maria which lead to the Argentine to provide a well judged chip over the Liverpool defence – and set Juan Mata up to acrobatically place a left strike in the bottom corner of Mignolet’s goal.

With the game seeming out of Liverpool’s reach, United became complacent – and despite having 10 men it was Liverpool who looked the better side, despite having 10 men. The visitors sloppiness allowed Daniel Sturridge to pull a goal back with a near post strike, which David De Gea maybe could have done better with.

Fortunately for United there were no more goals in this one. The visitors did have time to win a penalty in the dying minutes as Emre Can clumsily brought down Daley Blind in the box. The resulting penalty kick was missed however as Wayne Rooney’s kick was at a nice height for Liverpool keeper Mignolet to save.

Advantage United then in the ‘rat race’ for fourth, as Man United manager Van Gaal put it -but with both sides needing to play the big sides such as Arsenal and Chelsea, the race for fourth isn’t over just yet.The

Fleetwood Fight Back Hits Bradford’s Hopes

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams - but couldn't prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams – but couldn’t prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Two late goals from Fleetwood meant that the Lancashire side came back from Valley Parade with a point, after being two goals down. The result against the ‘Cod Army’ leaves the Bantams in 12th, all be it with two games in hand on their play off rivals.

Bradford who missed the chance of a Wembley date earlier in the week with an agonising FA Cup replay defeat against Reading had Filipe Morais unavailable for this one. The former Chelsea man’s sending off in that defeat on Monday night means the 29 year old will have to sit out of this one.

As for the visitors Fleetwood they could call on Stephen Dobbie, after the midfielder was previously unavailable.

After enduring the heart ache of missing out on a chance of a Wembley date with Arsenal, the Bantams came into this one in determined fashion – and it was of no surprise when the home side took the lead.

Jonathan Stead who was a key part in the memorable FA Cup opened the scoring. Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell wasn’t able to hold on to a Billy Clarke cross, which allowed Stead to score.

The opening goal was a reward for Bradford’s dominance – and it was of little surprise when the home side double their lead. Christopher Routis who replaced the suspended Morais doubled the hosts lead. Routis managed to squeeze in James Hanson’s far post cross – and at that point the Bantams looked in complete control – but that goal seemed to spark Fleetwood to life.

The visitors who were dominated, managed to pull a goal back when Jamie Proctor pulled a goal back when he headed in Tyler Hornby- Forbes’ cross. Despite the disappointment of conceding that goal, you still would have back Bradford to see the game out – but unfortunately for the home fans Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond had the last say as the Fleetwood man scored in stoppage time after an all mighty scramble.

Two apiece it finished then – but this result will be a better result for the visitors no doubt. Having said that Bradford aren’t out of the promotion race just as they do have two games in hand on their play off rivals – but more dropped points in a fiercely competitive play off race is never ideal.

Pak To Their Best?

Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed raise his bat aloft after helping Pakistan to a seven wicket win. over Ireland. The win against Ireland means they will now play hosts Australia in the quarter final.

Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed raise his bat aloft after helping Pakistan to a seven wicket win. over Ireland. The win against Ireland means they will now play hosts Australia in the quarter final.

1992 World Champions Pakistan overcame the brave challenge of Ireland to earn the right to face Australia in next weeks quarter final with a seven wicket win over the associate nation.

In a highly anticipated game which would have seen the winner progress to the quarter final stage – and the loser eliminated, it was Ireland who won the toss in this crucial match and opted to bat first.

The Irish came into this with all their key players available ( Both Openers and the explosive Kevin O’Brien). As for Pakistan who triumphed in 1992 when the tournament was last in Australia their team showed two changes, Harris Sohail returns after injury in place of Younus Khan and Ehsan Adil replaces Mohammed Irfan to make his first appearance of this world cup.

Ireland who can say they have beaten Pakistan in the past, would have every right to have been optimistic here- but the initial optimism decreased as Paul Stirling was dismissed by Adil with just 11 on the board. The worst possible start for the associate nation who knew that there was a lot riding on this game.

That early dismissal brought former England batsmen Ed Joyce to the crease – and at first it looked like the Sussex captain and Ireland’s captain William Porterfield had helped their side recover from the initial loss of Sterling. Sadly though Joyce was second out after being caught by Umar Akmal who would go on to take four catches in the game.

Through out Ireland’s innings players made ‘starts’ but could never truly cash in. Despite Portefield’s brilliant hundred which was the highest score by an associate nation’s captain, Ireland were all out for 237. After the Irish skippers heroics the next highest scorer was wicketkeeper Gary Wilson who scored 29. Ireland were at least 30 runs short we felt – but Pakistan’s disciplined attack never allowed Ireland’s score to get out of their control.

With the 1992 world champions just needing 237 to win to secure their place in the quarter finals, the Pakistan openers combined to put on their best opening stand in this tournament, by some distance. Ahmed Shehzhad and Sarfraz Ahmed who hit a superb 49 against South Africa, put on 120 for the first wicket. Even when Shehzhad was dismissed off the bowling of Stuart Thompson for a well played 63, Pakistan always seemed in control of this one.

However there was time for some late drama, or so Ireland thought.The recalled Harris Sohail was dismissed six runs later after a horrible mix up with Sarfraz Ahmed which lead to the run out of Sohail. If Ireland thought that dismissal was a chance for them to seize a potential advantage, sadly they were mistaken. Pakistan captain Misbah Ul-Haq was in next – and that was just what Pakistan needed as their captain effectively ended this one as a contest with a breezy 39 0ff just 46 balls which included two big sixes.

When Misbah was out for 39 after treading on his stumps, there was only 30 runs needed, so it was fair to say the game was effectively over. Pakistan eventually did secure the win with a four down the ground from Umar Akmal.

So Pakistan secured their place in the quarter finals after winning this game by seven wickets. The main reason for this win was a well disciplined bowling display and a very patient maiden century from wicket keeper batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed who anchored the run chase. Although Pakistan only closed the game out in the 47th over, they were never really troubled in this one.

Pakistan will now face Australia in the quarter final which will be on Friday 13th March. As for Ireland although they are eliminated they can go home proud of their achievements.

Determined Blackburn Earn FA Cup Replay Against Liverpool

Liverpool v Blackburn Rovers - FA Cup Quarter Final

Championship side Blackburn produced a dogged display to hold Premiership side Liverpool to a goalless draw in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Blackburn came into this one in confident mood after dumping out Premier League side Stoke 4-1 in the last round.

The visitors Blackburn who are 11th in the Championship again had Jordan Rhodes on the bench, which has lead to speculation that the Scottish International could be loaned out to promotion chasing Derby County.

Blackburn captain Matt Kilgallon who was full of praise for stand in Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson before the game also starts.

As for the home side Liverpool who have been in brilliant form of late, they didn’t have club captain Steven Gerrard in their match day squad as the 34 year old recovers fully from a hamstring injury.

Other than that bit of news the Reds had very much the same team that has been instrumental in their impressive revival after a very poor start to the season. Liverpool are now fifth in the Premier League respectively – and are now with in touching distance of fourth place Manchester United.

Despite there being some 25 league places separating the two sides, it was Blackburn who started brightly. Craig Conway fired over for the visitors early on as the visitors didn’t appear to be intimidated by their premeir League opponnents. Kolo Toure who replaced fellow central defender Martin Skrtel who had to go off with a serious looking head injury, had a goal ruled out for offside.

The Reds who haven’t won English footballs top cup competition since 2006,had goal keeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping them in the game. The Belgian who received a lot of criticism for his performances earlier in the season, dived superbly to his left and clawed a way a powerful Alex Baptiste drive which was destined for the top corner.

With hosts struggling to take a strangle hold of thr game, Liverpool decided to bring on Mario Balotelli who looks like he is now starting to settle in to life at Anfield, the Italian came on to offer some support to Daniel Sturridge as the Premier League side were looking to avoid the replay.

However just like in the last round, Liverpool couldn’t break down their Championship hosts as this game finished 0-0. Blackburn would be the happier of the two sides you would think, especially with the knowledge that they have defeated Premier League opposition in Swansea and Stoke at Ewood Park.

With Liverpool though Rovers know they have a much more difficult game, the Reds did beat Blackburn’s Lancashire rivals Bolton, so this will be far from easy. It’s hard to say who will win this match – but what is certain is that this cup tie is finely balanced.