Pederson double gives Blackburn 2-0 win over Villa
Morten Gamst Pederson scored a goal in each half as Blackburn began life under its new Indian owners with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Norway winger opened the scoring in first-half injury time with a curling free kick that sailed over Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel and sealed the points for Rovers by stabbing home a shot from close range in the 66th.
Villa, which brought new signing Robert Pires off the bench for the final 22 minutes, created more chances throughout but found Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson in inspired form.
The win lifted the northwest club, who were bought on Friday by Indian poultry giant Venky's which paid 23 million pounds ($36.8 million), above Villa and into 11th place in the table.
Blackburn's new owners, Indian businessmen Balaji Rao and B. Venkatesh Rao, were at Ewood Park for the match and were given a generous reception by the home crowd before kickoff.
They would have been impressed with their new side's fighting spirit against a Villa team which looked the more sprightly going forward, especially down the left through Ashley Young.
The England winger was at the heart of most of Villa's attacking moves and brought a sprawling save out of Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson with a low, angled drive in the 14th minute.
Robinson had earlier kept out Stewart Downing's fierce shot while at the other end, Friedel was being kept busy thanks to the dangerous long throws of Pedersen.
It was the winger's left foot that made the breakthrough, however, as his free kick from the right surprised Friedel, who flapped at a ball which soared over his head and into the top corner of the net.
The goal came somewhat against the run of play and at the start of the second half, Young first drew a diving save from Robinson before heading against the top of the crossbar seconds later.
Blackburn continued to look threatening on set pieces and it was from that route that the hosts doubled their lead in the 66th.
A second corner in quick succession ended in Phil Jones flashing a shot across goal that Pederson stabbed home from a central position six yards out.
Villa manager Gerard Houllier threw on Pires, who joined on a free transfer last week, but the former France winger couldn't inspire a comeback.
Downing and Young were defied by Robinson late on as Villa fell to its fifth defeat in seven away games this campaign.