Monday, February 1, 2016

1 February 2006 - Bentley Rolls Over Man United

On 1 February 2006, Blackburn winger David Bentley became the first person to score a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League as Rovers won 4-3.

The match was Bentley's first as an official Blackburn player--he signed with them the day before after spending the first half of the season with them on loan from Arsenal. Playing at home before a crowd of 25,484, he celebrated the move by putting Rovers ahead in the 35th minute, finishing off a free kick that United keeper Edwin van der Sar tipped onto the bar.

United striker Louis Saha returned the favor in the 37th minute, but a poor clearance from Rio Ferdinand allowed Bentley to double his tally four minutes later. Rovers extended the lead to 3-1 before the break when Lucas Neill converted a 45th-minute penalty kick. Then, in the 56th minute, Robbie Savage found Bentley unmarked in the United box; the winger took the chance, claiming the first hat-trick against United since QPR's David Bailey did it in January 1992 when the top flight was still called Division One.

United's Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had come on as a second-half substitute, scored a brace of his own in the 63rd and 68th minutes, but the rally ended when referee Phil Dowd sent Ferdinand off in the 88th minute--Ferdinand's first career red card, earned by having drawn a second yellow card for a challenge on Savage that left the Welshman with a gash on his shin.

The win completed a Blackburn double over United that season, which ended with Rovers in sixth place and United in second. 

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