Berbatov ends goal drought with 5 vs. Blackburn

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov ended a 10-match goal

drought in style Saturday, sending five past Blackburn in a 7-1

rout.

Having not scored since a hat trick in September, the Bulgaria

striker became only the fourth player since the Premier League was

formed in 1992 to score five goals in a game.

”I can’t believe I scored five in a game but it happened,”

Berbatov said. ”I have scored that many before but it was a long

time ago back home in Bulgaria. Today I did it in the Premier

League.”

It was United’s 29th straight game without a loss, a stretch

dating back to April.

Berbatov opened the scoring for United after just 72 seconds and

added another in the 27th minute before netting a second-half hat

trick.

Nani and Park Ji-sung also found the net in United’s biggest win

since also beating AS Roma 7-1 in the Champions League in April

2007.

While the victory over Blackburn took United top of the

standings, Chelsea can reclaim the lead by beating Newcastle on

Sunday.

Berbatov’s last goals came against Liverpool on Sept. 19. His

first on Saturday came after poor Blackburn defending allowed Nani

to cross from the left, and Wayne Rooney flicked the ball on with a

header for Berbatov to convert from six yards.

Rooney was making just his second start since recovering from an

ankle injury, and United manager Alex Ferguson said the England

striker’s partnership up front with Berbatov was key to the

Bulgarian’s five goals.

”He and Wayne were fantastic today,” Ferguson said. ”They

were a constant threat. Their movement, passing and one-twos. It

was a top performance by both of them. They have an understanding

from the previous two years. It is very pleasing to get that.”

Rooney also had a hand in the second goal, combining with Park

in a delightful one-two before the South Korean international

advanced to score from 12 yards in the 23rd.

Berbatov then capitalized on a dreadful back-pass from Pascal

Chimbonda just five minutes later, scoring from 12 yards after the

defender’s blunder left him with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Berbatov was far from done, adding the third just two minutes

after the break after Nani broke in from the side and pulled the

ball back for the Bulgarian to convert from 12 yards.

Nani quickly made it 5-0 himself after a precise pass from

Anderson allowed him to cut inside Chimbonda and change feet before

scoring low into the far corner.

Then it was time for Berbatov again in the 62nd, who got his

fourth in the 62nd after Park’s shot was blocked by Christopher

Samba. Anderson then set up Berbatov for his fifth in the 69th

minute and the Bulgarian converted his own rebound after his

initial shot was blocked by Ryan Nelsen.

Berbatov came close to claiming a Premier League record sixth

goal in the final minute, when his close-range header drew a fine

save from Paul Robinson who tipped the ball onto the Blackburn

crossbar.

Blackburn’s consolation goal came in the 84th when Samba rose to

head in Josh Morris’ cross from six yards.

Berbatov now has 11 league goals from 12 starts this season, and

joined Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe as the only

players to have scored five goals in a Premier League game.

”To stand next to people like Cole and Shearer is a great

honor,” Berbatov said. ”As a striker, people do tend only to look

at the goals you score. I am more concerned with how I play but

today was all about goals for me.”