City earn replay despite dire performance
FA Cup Third Round
Saturday 4 January 2014, 12.45 KO
City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Lescott (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Milner, Fernandinho (Toure 64), Garcia, Silva (Zabaleta 88), Negredo (Navas 74), Dzeko
Unused: Hart, Kompany, Kolarov, Lopes
Goals: Negredo (45)
Booked: Nastasic, Boyata
Sent Off: Boyata
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the Match: Alvaro Negredo
It was a dreadful start to the match with neither side really imposing themselves on the game. Negredo ran the ball out of play in the Blackburn box, while Milner’s over-hit pass didn’t find Clichy. The first decent chance took almost 20 minutes to arrive, as a Blackburn corner was headed towards goal by Dann, but it was well held by Pantilimon.
With 35 minutes played, City’s first real spell of pressure should have resulted in the opening goal. The ball was cleared as far as Garcia mid-way into the Blackburn half and he knocked it back for Boyata on the right. He neatly found Silva in the middle, but the chance was on his right foot and he hit the top tier rather than the target.
On the stroke of half time, City took the lead. Dzeko headed a corner into the box at goal, but the striker’s effort was well wide of the goal. Fortunately for the visitors, it fell kindly for Negredo, who touched the ball into the net. It was a dubious goal, as the Spaniard may have been offside.
Ten minutes into the second half, the hosts were level. City were feeling aggrieved with the officials after two clear corners weren’t awards, while Negredo might have had a penalty as he tried to latch onto a through ball. However, on the break, Blackburn won a corner – it was floated to the middle and the initial header was straight at Pantilimon. He spilt it and Dann tapped in.
Just after the half hour, Negredo should have doubled his tally for the afternoon. Silva chipped the ball into the Spaniard on the edge of the box and he nodded it down for Dzeko to shoot. Robinson parried the effort straight back to Negredo, but he couldn’t direct his diving header into the unguarded net.
A long range shot from Navas, shortly after the Spaniard had joined the action, was close to sneaking in at the back post but for a strong hand by Robinson. It was one of a few isolated chances in the second half, where neither side were able to really impose themselves on the match.
A long-throw in from Blackburn was well defended by the visitors and they were able to break. A great ball from Dzeko found Milner on the right and he flicked it through to Navas to go clear into the box. The winger’s shot, however, was on his weaker side and flashed wide of Robinson’s goal.
A late challenge by Boyata with five minutes to play saw him receive his second yellow card. His first seemed soft, but he could have no arguments with the second and it left City a man light for the closing stages. It almost cost the visitors immediately, as Cairney’s turn and shot flashed just wide.
There wasn’t another chance to win the game, though, and there’ll be a replay.