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Khadra effort enough as Birmingham beat Blackburn to dent play-off hopes
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Reda Khadra put Birmingham ahead just after the jour mark (Mike Egerton/PA)
Reda Khadra put Birmingham ahead just after the jour mark (Mike Egerton/PA)

Reda Khadra dented former loan club Blackburn’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes with the only goal as Birmingham claimed a narrow 1-0 success at St Andrew’s.

The 21-year-old Germany Under-21 international struck a superb effort in the 61st minute to give John Eustace’s side their third win in four and end Rovers’ run of five wins in six league games.

But it was harsh on the visitors, who had chances either side of the goal and dominated much of the game.

Ryan Hedges was twice denied by Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy, while Dominic Hyam (twice) Sammie Szmodics and were off target for the visitors.

Blues hit the post through Rovers’ captain Lewis Travis and Lukas Jutkiewicz went close a couple of occasions.

There was early drama when Blackburn seemed to have claims for a penalty.

Kevin Long appeared to clumsily pull former Blues loan striker Sam Gallagher to the ground after the defender missed his clearance as a long ball dropped, but the referee waved play on.

At the other end, Blues went desperately close.

Travis sliced the ball horribly against the inside of his own post and Hayden Carter cleared an effort off the line after Jutkiewicz’s cross caused havoc.

Blackburn’s first chance came when Hyam planted Tyler Morton’s corner over the crossbar from close range.

Jutkiewicz floated an opportunist volley a whisker wide of the far post from just inside the area, then his flick-up and volley forced Aynsley Pears to parry uncomfortably.

But Blackburn finished the half stronger on the back of several chances.

A snapshot from Szmodics sailed a few inches too high, then Ruddy smothered Hedges’s acute-angled low drive prior to Carter firing straight at the Blues goalkeeper from distance.

Rovers picked up where they had left off after the break.

Hedges arrowed a 20-yard shot that was heading for the top corner until Ruddy superbly fingertipped the ball around the post.

Birmingham could not get out of their own half as they struggled to keep possession under constant Rovers pressure.

But – completely against the run of play – they took the lead just after the hour.

Khadra lashed home a low, angled drive from 25 yards after Chong’s corner had been headed clear to Maxime Colin, who squared the ball.

It was the winger’s fourth goal in 10 games for Blues in all competitions since joining on loan form Brighton – and second against Blackburn after netting against them in the FA Cup.

Rovers pushed for an equaliser and Hyam failed to get enough on a free header from Sorba Thomas’s corner with Ben Brereton Diaz nodding over at the far post.

Substitute Bradley Dack’s angled effort was deflected across goal then he glanced inches wide, but Blues held on for back-to-back victories.


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