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Newell hat-trick inspires historic Blackburn victory

Blackburn Rovers FC 4-1 Rosenborg BK
Mike Newell struck a nine-minute hat-trick as Blackburn bowed out on a high despite playing 39 minutes with ten men.

Without a win or a home goal in European competition in their history and already eliminated on their debut UEFA Champions League debut, a competition record nine-minute hat-trick from Mike Newell ensured English title holders Blackburn Rovers FC nevertheless exited on a high.

The Lancashire side's European experience extended only so far as an unsuccessful UEFA Cup first round tie against Sweden's Trelleborgs FF the previous season before the 1995 Premier League crown earned a place among the continent's elite. They were in for a ride awakening, picking up a solitary point from their first five group stage fixtures.

Sixteen minutes into their sixth attempt, the perfect chance came for Rovers to break their Ewood Park duck. It was fitting that opportunity fell to a man whose shoulders were broad enough to take it with aplomb, England striker Alan Shearer finishing emphatically from the penalty spot after Paul Warhurst had been felled.

Rosenborg BK, though, were still in the running to qualify and equalised on the half-hour when Steffen Iversen smashed Ståle Stensaas's delightful delivery across Tim Flowers and inside the far post. Norweigan television was still showing the replay when Rovers struck back as Newell collected Shearer's flick and superbly chipped over goalkeeper Oly By Rise with his right foot.

Newell could lay claim to far less of the credit for the hosts' third. A wonderfully patient move eventually found its way to Matthew Holmes on the left, and his simple cross fell perfectly on to the head of Rovers' rampant No10. Three minutes later Newell had a third, and this time it was Shearer he had to thank.

Having demonstrated his brawn for Newell's first, Shearer showed the other strings to his bow, displaying pace to race on to a long ball down the right and poise to square perfectly for his strike partner to convert with his outstretched left foot. A perfect hat-trick, completed inside nine minutes – where, the home fans asked, had this been until now?

Even after Warhurst's dismissal soon after the interval, Blackburn remained comfortable to wrap up a remarkable win. It would, they hoped, stand them in good stead for their second campaign – a decade and a half later they are still waiting for it. For Rosenborg the disappointment was more immediate as they missed out on a quarter-final place by a point.