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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Ewood Park

Burnley do "an Arsenal" at Blackburn to the joy of Millwall

From Alessandro Schiavone at Ewood Park, Blackburn



Burnley’s Championship title will be celebrated by Millwall fans as if they won it themselves.


The Lions pinned their hopes on Vincent Kompany’s runaway leaders to do them a favour and deny Blackburn the victory tonight. And they got their wish as the 1995 Premier League champions’ came up short against their bitter Lancashire rivals in the Cotton Mills derby. A win would have seen Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men move up to fifth on their own and three points clear of the Lions. And most importantly with fate still into their own hands. But like so often since their relegation in 2012, Blackburn keep throwing it away at the very end.


Tonight they bottled it. Burnley, on a dip themselves, since mathematically making sure of promotion matters, were there for the taking. But Blackburn lacked a clear game plan, kept running into dead ends while lacking options in the top third. That also explains why they have failed to win any of their last SEVEN games. And now even if they win their remaining two, they may still miss out on making the playoffs.


They had two chief targets before the game. One of them was to strengthen their grip on a top-six finish. But preventing Burnley from winning the title on their home patch was the untold icing on the cake. Yet just like Tottenham in 2004, they failed in their ambitious mission and must live with the chastening experience that their bitter rivals did the job on their own turf forever. Arsenal fans still remember it 19 years later.


The Burnley supporters chanted “Campione, Campione ole ole ole” after Manuel Benson’s spectacularly curled finish into the far corner won them the game and the season. It will now take a healthy dose of luck and a sudden revival for Blackburn to follow them in the top-flight. By the time their final game of the season at Millwall comes along both sides may have nothing left to play for unless they win their respective games at Blakpool (Millwall) and Luton (Blackburn). Defeats combined with Coventry, Sunderland and West Brom (who have a game in hand) wins would end their Premier League hopes.


All of the sides in the promotion mix were cheering for Burnley tonight. And Kompany’s team won without even having to get out of first gear. Tonight also laid bare of Blackburn’s struggles to find the back of the net and win those 50-50 games which they have failed to do for a while.


Blackburn turned up the heat in the dying minutes, but it was too little too late to the joy of the Millwall supporters.


Asked by Capital Football whether it “hurts” seeing their regional neighbours being crowned second-tier champions at Ewood Park, Tomasson said: “I don’t think about that. I think about the great performance of our players and the great atmosphere. Unlike Burnley we don’t have the parachute moments”.


Millwall can breathe a huge sigh of relief and still dream big about getting promoted to the Premier League for the maiden time.

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