Manuel Pellegrini’s team faces fresh disappointment as Blackburn Rovers hold them 1-1 in FA Cup tie
Last season’s beaten FA Cup finalists Manchester City tasted fresh disappointment in the competition on Saturday when they drew 1-1 at second-tier Blackburn Rovers in the third round.
Manchester City’s Alvaro Negredo reacts after missing a chance during their match against Blackburn on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Stunned by Wigan Athletic in last year’s final, City took the lead at Ewood Park through an Alvaro Negredo goal on the stroke of half-time, only for Scott Dann to equalise early in the second period.
City, currently second in the Premier League, also had defender Dedryck Boyata sent off late on for two bookable offences and now face an unwelcome replay against Gary Bowyer’s side.
“I think it was a very close game,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told BT Sport. “They’re a difficult team and they play here with a lot of intensity, so we must decide who continues in the FA Cup at home.”
Pellegrini made seven changes to his starting XI, while former England international Paul Robinson returned in goal for Blackburn after spending almost 12 months out due to a blood clot on his lung.
The visitors enjoyed the best of the first half but had to wait until the 45th minute to go ahead, with Negredo volleying home at the back post after Edin Dzeko headed on David Silva’s left-wing corner.
City had gone into the game on a run of seven straight wins, but they conceded an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half when Dann pounced after visiting goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon allowed Rudy Gestede’s header to bounce off his gloves.
Chris Taylor came close to putting Blackburn in front, while Robinson had to save from Dzeko and substitute Jesus Navas at the other end, before Boyata saw red following an ill-advised swipe at DJ Campbell.
Aston Villa stunned
Aston Villa became the first major casualty of the third round after losing 2-1 at home to third-tier Sheffield United.
Nicklas Helenius appeared to have kept Villa in the competition when he cancelled out Jamie Murphy's deflected opener in the 75th minute, only for Ryan Flynn to give the Blades victory six minutes later.
Everton crush QPR
Everton crushed Queens Park Rangers 4-0, with Nikica Jelavic claiming a brace, while Southampton edged Burnley 4-3 at St Mary's. Hull City won 2-0 at Middlesbrough and Stoke City defeated Leicester City 2-1.