Manchester United went five points clear at the top of the Premier League courtesy of two late goals against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

It appeared as if United would be frustrated in their attempts to capitalize on rivals Manchester City's draw with Sunderland at the weekend until Antonio Valencia broke the deadlock nine minutes from time and then substitute Ashley Young made sure of all three points.

Manchester United began with Javier Hernandez in attack ahead of Danny Welbeck and the Mexican striker could have twice given United in the lead in the first 11 minutes.

First a poor Blackburn clearance presented the ball to Hernandez in the box, but his left-footed volley wasn't struck cleanly and went wide of the post.

Hernandez's second opportunity was even better and owed everything to the excellent play of the in-form Antonio Valencia.

In typical fashion, the Ecuadorian winger got a yard on his defender out on the right before whipping in a dangerous low cross. Hernandez anticipated the ball perfectly and shot toward goal at the near post, but somehow through a combination of brilliant reflexes Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson parried the ball and grabbed it gratefully at the second attempt before it could trickle over the line.

But it was the table-toppers who went in at half time perhaps a little grateful not to be behind as David de Gea made two excellent saves to keep the match scoreless.

First the young Spaniard, talked up by his manager before the match, turned the ball away from Marcus Olsson's explosively-struck half-volley from the edge of the box. Then from the resulting corner De Gea had to be alive again to turn over Grant Hanley's header.

Blackburn did have the ball in the back of the net just after the hour mark but Morten Gamst Pedersen's effort was ruled out for as the ball had gone out of play before Steven N'Zonzi's cross.

As the game wore on United began to step up the pressure as they looked for the all-important goal.

And it finally came in the 81st minute. From out the right side of the box Valencia blasted the ball with the outside of his foot and the ball soared past Robinson into the far corner.

And the result was put beyond doubt just five minutes later with Young's fine strike. The England winger pickd up the ball on the edge of a crowded area before shifting to the right to find a half-a-yard of space and finishing with a perfect curling shot low inside the near post.

United once again demonstrating the experience to get the results when the pressure is on in the final months of the season and they must now be overwhelming favorites to claim their 20th Premier League title.


Blackburn vs Manchester United 0:2 MATCH... by maidb7abc