Rovers triumph in India

Blackburn Rovers enjoyed an easy 3-0 win over Pune FC in an exhibition match that marked the first appearance by an English Premier League side in India.

Jason Roberts scored once in each half and Spaniard Ruben Rochina netted the other, in a match played in persistent rain at the 14,000-capacity Balewadi Sports Complex.

Rovers manager Steve Kean said his team would take a lot of positives from the trip and hoped the club would return to India. "It's been a good visit for us in every respect," he said. "I would love to come back to India. There has been a thought that it could be an annual event at the end of the season."

Pune, a five-year-old club who finished third on their debut in India's I-League in 2009, defended gallantly to deny the technically superior Rovers a bigger victory.

It's been a good visit for us in every respect. I would love to come back to India.
Steve Kean, Blackburn Rovers manager

The hosts were reduced to ten men in the 15th minute as Anas Edathodika was sent off after two yellow cards for tackles on Junior Hoilett and Rochina.

Rovers went into the lead in the 35th minute when Roberts beat goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly from a narrow angle. Rochina made it 2-0 soon after with a powerful left-footer, before Roberts tapped in a loose ball in the 76th minute.

Pune coach Derrick Pereira said he was delighted with his team's performance despite the defeat. "The boys learnt a lot in this game," he said. "There was a huge difference between the two teams, technically and physically. But hats off to our players.

"The boys fought hard. It did not show that we were a player down. If we continue to play like this, we will do very well in the future."