Blackburn relegated after 1-0 home loss to Wigan
BLACKBURN, England (AP)
Blackburn joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in being relegated from the Premier League after losing 1-0 at home to Wigan, which ensured its survival with a sixth win from its past eight matches on Monday.
Blackburn, the 1995 champion, needed to win to have any chance of staying up, but Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz scored with an 87th-minute header from a corner that sealed both teams' fate.
The hosts earlier had a penalty appeal wrongly turned down by the referee when Junior Hoilett was fouled from behind by Emmerson Boyce in the second half.
Wigan rose two places to 15th, five points above the drop zone, and Wigan manager Roberto Martinez praised his players.
''It doesn't seem real yet,'' Martinez said. ''It's a great feeling because you could feel the tension and it was a cagey affair. To do that and to keep a clean sheet - to have that and what it means is incredible. Eight years in the Premier League.
''We've been in the bottom three for a long time. They made the football club proud and the chairman proud.''
There were ugly scenes at the final whistle when some Blackburn fans ran onto Ewood Park. Earlier, a chicken draped in Rovers colors was released onto the field, a pointed reminder of the supporters' antipathy toward owner Venky's, a chicken-meat company.
Blackburn supporters had turned the game into one long protest against manager Steve Kean and Venky's, even singing ''that's why we're going down'' after midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen's free kick went straight through the box without being touched.
''I've got nothing but admiration and respect for him,'' Blackburn defender Bradley Orr said of Kean. ''It's not through lack of effort but we fell short as a group of players, and it's resulted in relegation. I can't put my finger on why, it's really hard to take.''
Blackburn and Wolverhampton will play in the League Championship next season. The third team relegated will be determined in the final round on Sunday.
Queens Park Rangers and Bolton look to be fighting it out to stay up, with QPR two points ahead but visiting Manchester City with the Premier League leaders likely needing to win to capture the title. Bolton is at Stoke in its final match.