Premier League - Blackburn hold City to draw

Eurosport - Sat, 11 Sep 17:08:00 2010

A man-of-the-match performance from Paul Robinson inspired Blackburn to a 1-1 draw away at Manchester City.

Miss a Match? We didn't

Man City 1 Blackburn 1

Time and again the former England goalkeeper left the City players with heads in hands as he repelled their goalbound efforts. Such a rousing performance was not replicated at the other end in the first half at the City of Manchester Stadium.

A long ball from Morten Gamst Pedersen caused a calamitous mix-up between Joe Hart and Kolo Toure and presented Nikola Kalinic with the easy task of stroking the ball into an empty net to give Rovers a surprise lead.

It was the first goal Roberto Mancini's men had conceded in the Premier League this season and it will give the Italian nightmares.

City drew level 10 minutes into the second half. Patrick Vieira drove at the heart of the Rovers rearguard, before slipping the ball out to the right for Carlos Tevez, who returned the pass and the loping Frenchman made no mistake from close range, firing the ball into the roof of the net.

Led by the fleet-footed Adam Johnson, the home side piled forward in search of a winner, but Sam Allardyce's men worked tirelessly to protect their lead.

A Herculean defensive performance from Christopher Samba and a string of magnificent saves from Robinson ensured Rovers went home with a share of the spoils, much to the dissatisfaction of the City fans who belted out a ring of boos at the final whistle.

The game started at a frenetic pace, with goalscoring opportunities aplenty. The contest was only five minutes old and Robinson was twice called into action, first beating out a shot from Johnson at his near post, before diving to his right to cover a Shaun Wright-Phillips's strike.

As a typically organised and disciplined Allardyce side, Blackburn defended resolutely, and only looked troubled when City speedsters Johnson and Wright-Phillips raided the channels.

It was the former who almost broke the deadlock after 15 minutes when he flew down the right, opened up his body and tried to curl a left foot shot inside the far post, but it curled agonisingly wide.

For all the craft and guile the home side had shown, they were undone by a goal as simple as it sounds.

With 25 minutes on the clock a long ball from Pedersen was left by Toure, missed by Hart and turned in by Kalinic. Rovers almost doubled their five minutes later.

A looping header on the edge of the box from Michel Salgado, sailed over Joleon Lescott and fell to Mame Biram Diouf, who scuffed his shot wide under pressure.

As the crowd grew anxious, Johnson and Wright-Phillips did their best to allay their fears, with a shot apiece that brought the best out of Robinson.

The efforts of the former Leeds United custodian preserved his side's lead up until the interval. But there was nothing he could do about Vieira's equaliser on 55 minutes.

City started the second half slowly and it took some vintage Vieira to drag the hosts level.

The former Arsenal star turned back the sands of time as he galloped forward from midfield, pushed the ball out wide to Tevez breaking away to the right, and then ate up the ground to meet the Argentine's cross with a rising right foot shot into the roof of the net to level the score.

The guests slowed City's momentum briefly, but with 30 minutes to play the heroics for Robinson and Samba were all that stood in the way of a blue tidal wave.

Blackburn's goalkeeper saved from Johnson, Gareth Barry and Jo. On two separate occasions Samba got telling touches on efforts from Tevez.

Their prolificacy in front of goal was almost punished by Kalinic, who exchanged passed with Diouf, to create a shooting opportunity, but Hart raced off his line to block the Croatian's effort.

Rovers' tormentor Johnson had a legitimate penalty claim turned down by Mark Clattenburg, after he was clattered by Samba.

In the dying moments Tevez was first denied by Robinson, then Gael Givet, before teeing up Jo, who had the goal at his mercy, but Samba managed to stick his right leg out and deflect the ball over.

Ben Welch / Eurosport

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