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PREMIER LEAGUE: Man City brush aside Blackburn's challenge

League leaders Manchester City had little trouble in making it 18 home wins on the bounce as they breezed past struggling Blackburn Rovers 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Rovers away form of just two successes in 21 league games was never going to trouble City's impressive home record. And so it proved as a totally dominate home side cruised to three points and extended their lead at the top of the table over Manchester United to five points, although United have a game in hand.

The visitor's keeper Paul Robinson kept them in the game until the half-hour when Mario Balotelli opened the scoring with an assist from Aleksandar Kolarov.

City could have added further goals from Sergio Aguero and Adam Johnson but Rovers limped to half-time just one goal in arrears.

Little changed after the break and the host's took only six minutes to double their tally. Ironically, after all the good work of keeper Robinson it was the England international's error from David Silva's corner that allowed Aguero to hammer home his palmed clearance.

Steve Kean's misery was complete with nine minutes remaining as substitute Edin Dzeko, who had only been on the field just over a minute, headed home Aleksandar Kolarov's cross.

Morten Gamst Pedersen had a half-chance charged down for Blackburn and right at the end leading scorer Yakubu finally brought a save from City keeper Joe Hart bringing ironic cheers from the terraces.

Referee: Mike Jones

Venue: Etihad Stadium

Attendance: 46,782

Man City scorers: Balotelli 30, Aguero 52, Dzeko 81 Blackburn scorers:

TRIBAL ASKS: With goal difference at the foot of the table so crucial, Rovers leaky defence could prove decisive at the end of the season.

Yellow cards: Hanley (BLA), Orr (BLA)

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Dave Williams

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