Samba saves Rovers from cup shock


Blackburn defender Christopher Samba's dramatic late equaliser kept the Barclays Premier League club's FA Cup dream alive as Coventry were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Samba struck deep in stoppage time to force the ball home after stand-in goalkeeper Andy Marshall had fumbled a shot from substitute Keith Treacy.

Blackburn got off to a perfect start when Roque Santa Cruz rifled a shot into the corner from an acute angle after two minutes. But the Sky Blues looked set to cause an upset courtesy of second-half goals from Aron Gunnarsson and Michael Doyle before Samba denied them right at the death.

Rovers looked dangerous every time they broke forward and David Dunn picked out Carlos Villanueva in the 31st minute but he failed to test Andy Marshall.

However, Coventry should have drawn level a minute later following Daniel Fox's flighted free-kick. Gunnarsson peeled away from his marker but from in front of the posts he delivered a header closer to the corner flag than the goal.

Santa Cruz then came close to adding a second in the 40th minute after a fine cross from Villanueva, only to find the side netting with his shot.

The Championship side suddenly stepped up the pressure and drew level on the hour mark with a stunning strike from Gunnarsson. He latched on to a clearance from Gael Givet, took one touch and thundered a shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards.

Givet thought he had regained the lead for Blackburn three minutes later but his effort was ruled out for an infringement.

Coventry maintained their grip on the game and took the lead in the 75th minute to stun the Premier League strugglers. Doyle's instinctive effort came off Samba and looped over stranded goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

But Samba grabbed a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time by taking advantage when Marshall spilled substitute Treacy's effort and Coventry boss Chris Coleman was left cursing his luck.

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