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Wigan's Bent moved quickly to souvenir match-ball from Santa Cruz

Wigan Athletic striker Marcus Bent admits he had to move quickly to souvenir the match-ball ahead of fellow hat-trick hero Roque Santa Cruz after Saturday's 5-3 victory over Blackburn.

The former Blackburn ace said: "I got the match ball because we were playing at home. I nicked it before Santa Cruz could get anywhere near it.

"He probably wasn't even thinking about it, having lost the game. But I wanted to be sure.

"I got it signed by all the Wigan boys, so there's no doubts.

"I don't care whose hat-trick was the better one. Just scoring three was enough. It's a proud moment for me.

"I have a cabinet at home, so it will go in there with my trophies and man-of-the-match awards."

Bent admitted it gave him no extra pleasure to sink his old club.

And he even apologised to his pal Brad Friedel after the game.

Bent added: "People have said it's nice to do it against an old club but it's not really the case here. Blackburn hold a special place in my heart.

"I got promoted with them and they gave me the chance to play at a higher level while I was there.

"They were very good to me and I have lots of good friends there. I said sorry to Brad at the end for sticking three past him!"

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Tribal Football Staff

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