English Premiership

Viera saves City blushes

2010-09-11 18:36
Patrick Vieira (AFP)

United Kingdom - Patrick Vieira's equaliser cancelled out Nikola Kalinic's opener but Manchester City still had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Blackburn at Eastlands on Saturday.

Kalinic gave Rovers an early lead after a blunder from Joe Hart and despite pulling level at the start of the second half, they could not find a winner, leaving Roberto Mancini's free-spending City with only one win from four games.

Sam Allardyce's Blackburn will be satisfied to come away with a point to avoid slipping to three straight defeats for the first time since the manager took charge in December 2008.

Blackburn threatened early with a goal-mouth scramble from Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner.

But City cleared and immediately went close themselves, with Paul Robinson having to turn away Adam Johnson's thumping shot after James Milner released the winger down the right.

And Shaun Wright-Phillips also fired a shot wide of the near post after cutting in from the left.

From Johnson's quick free kick, Carlos Tevez had a low shot palmed away by Rovers goalkeeper Robinson.

After successive goals for England, Johnson was full of confidence and after swapping passes with Milner on half-way, he cut inside Gael Givet and curled a shot just wide.

Belgian Vincent Kompany rose highest to meet Johnson's corner only to see his header deflected wide.

But midway through the first half, Blackburn took the lead in bizarre circumstances.

Pedersen hooked the ball down-field and Kolo Toure left it for Hart, who missed the ball five yards outside of his area to allow Kalinic to roll the ball into an empty net.

Robinson was called on again when he diverted a Wright-Phillips effort wide before the former England goalkeeper pulled off a fine block from Milner's long-range strike.

El-Hadji Diouf curled wide for Blackburn and Tevez also lifted over the bar from 25 yards.

At the start of the opening period, City almost handed their visitors a second goal.

Yaya Toure's weak back-pass was almost intercepted by Kalinic but Hart reacted quickly.

Johnson continued to pose City's main threat and after he was picked out by Tevez, had a curling shot pushed away by Robinson.

But moments later Vieira pulled City level. The veteran Frenchman had endured a poor opening period but after laying off to Tevez, continued his run into the area and stabbed in at the near post.

Blackburn failed to clear Milner's free kick and Tevez's shot was deflected onto the post by Chris Samba.

Tevez saw a shot from the right miss the far post.

And, on as a substitute, Barry had a low shot pushed away by Robinson and Yaya Toure headed wide from Milner's corner.

But City were growing increasingly frustrated as their pressure failed to tell.

Brazilian substitute Jo had an effort blocked wide as City managed a counter attack. But Kalinic had a stab at goal turned away by Hart as Blackburn threatened to snatch a second themselves.

Tevez also failed to hit the target after he was picked out by Milner's cross from the right and Chris Samba also pulled off a fine block to deny Jo in added time.


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