Blackburn keep City at bay

2014-01-04 23:00

The mighty Manchester outfit could only muster a draw against the mid-table Championship side.

Scott Dann’s second-half equaliser earned Blackburn Rovers a FA Cup third round replay against 10-man Manchester City at Ewood Park yesterday.

Rovers captain Dann gave Blackburn a deserved draw, albeit courtesy of a mistake from Costel Pantilimon, after City had gone ahead through Álvaro Negredo on the stroke of half-time.

The Citizens made seven changes from the team that beat Swansea last time out, but it was still a very strong line-up that took to the field against a Blackburn side that had top-scorer Jordan Rhodes starting on the bench.

The game was hardly a spectacle in the opening stages, with City’s first real attempt coming when Fernandinho fired straight at Paul Robinson from outside the area.

On 35 minutes, David Silva managed to scoop a good chance over the bar from close range. Neither goalkeeper was truly tested during the opening 45 minutes.

But with 60 seconds of two first-half stoppage minutes gone, City took the lead just when a corner from Silva was glanced on by Edin Džeko, and Negredo was alert at the far post to smash the ball home to give the Premier League side the lead.

But the visitors weren’t in front for long. Just 10 minutes into the second half, Blackburn got their equaliser with Rudy Gestede’s header from a corner going straight to Patilimon, who inexplicably dropped the ball straight to Dann, and he made no mistake tapping home from close range.

City should have taken the lead again eight minutes later, when Robinson was only able to palm Džeko’s curling effort into the path of Negredo, but the striker headed the rebound wide despite having the goal at his mercy.

Blackburn managed to cope reasonably well with everything City threw at them, though, while also causing the Premier League giants a few problems of their own.

City were still creating opportunities and stepped things up as the game entered its closing stages.

Džeko and Jesús Navas both tested former England goalkeeper Robinson with fierce long-range drives, while substitute Yaya Touré blasted a volley narrowly over the bar from inside the area.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men continued to throw men forward and Navas wasted a good chance when he dragged a shot wide of the target, but as City flooded forward, gaps began to open at the back.

They got off lightly when DJ Campbell, having come on as a substitute along with Rhodes, was unable to take advantage of a quick counterattack as he headed wide from his fellow forward’s pinpoint delivery.

As the match entered a frantic end, Dedryck Boyata was sent off for a second yellow card for a completely unnecessary challenge, while Tom Cairney almost took advantage of the numbers but his fantastic effort curled narrowly wide of the target. – TeamTalk Media

Some noteworthy numbers

1Blackburn Rovers have only lost one of their past six FA Cup matches against sides from higher divisions (won two, drawn three).

5Prior to yesterday’s draw, Manchester City had won their past five FA Cup games against sides from lower divisions, scoring 18 and conceding none.

7Manchester City have scored more goals from corners than any other Premier League team this season (seven).

79Since 2000/01, 79 teams have been knocked out of the FA Cup third round by a team from a lower division.

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