Saturday 19 January 2002
MANCHESTER UNITED 2
(Van Nistelrooy 45 (pen), Keane 81)
BLACKBURN ROVERS 1
United: Barthez; P. Neville, G. Neville, Blanc, Silvestre (Irwin 45); Beckham, Veron (Butt 84), Keane, Scholes, Solskjaer (Giggs 55) , van Nistelrooy. Subs not used: Carroll, O'Shea.
Blackburn: Friedel; Neill, Johansson, Taylor, Bjornebye (Grabbi 84 ); Dunn (Flitcroft 65), Hignett, Tugay, Duff; Cole, Jansen (Hughes 72). Subs not used Kelly, Berg.
The Reds were on a run of seven straight wins and topping the Premier League table when Blackburn Rovers came to Old Trafford in January 2002.
Ruud van Nistelrooy, Barclays Player of the Month for December, was closing in on Liam Whelan’s record of scoring in eight consecutive games, a run which had seen him net 13 in seven, including a hat-trick against Southampton. In the opposition side was Ruud's predecessor as chief United predator, Andy Cole.
Action: When Laurent Blanc won a penalty late in the first half, Ruud duly scored it to match Whelan's club record and set a new standard for the Premier League. Blackburn equalised just after half time when Craig Hignett stole a march on Denis Irwin and clipped the ball beyond Fabien Barthez, and they would have taken the lead had Damien Duff not wasted a one-on-one. Rovers were made to pay when Ryan Giggs found Roy Keane with a superb backheel and the captain's low finish past Brad Friedel secured the points.
Reaction: The Reds suffered a shock home defeat to Liverpool three days later when Danny Murphy scored the only goal and an FA Cup exit followed at the hands of Middlesbrough. Defeat to Boro in the league allowed Liverpool to take over at