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4 January 2014
• Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 18813
S. Dann 55'
Well, what a great start to FA Cup third round weekend! That's all from our LIVE coverage from Ewood Park, though. Many thanks for joining us, and enjoy the rest of the weekend's action!
City had an off-day, possibly due to the large number of changes in the side, but let's take nothing away from Gary Bowyer's men, who worked tirelessly throughout the match and managed to stifle the visitors well.
FULL TIME at Ewood Park and it's finished all-square after Scott Dann cancelled out Alvaro Negredo's opener late in the first half. It's been a breathtaking second half and the hosts fully deserve to still be in the cup.
90' + 4'
Lowe plays a first-time ball out to King on the left-hand side, but it bounces in front of the substitute and he can only head the ball out for a throw. Just seconds left now...
90' + 3'
OVER FROM RHODES!! Campbell charges forward and slides the ball to Rhodes before being taken out on the edge of the box. Play goes on, but Rhodes' effort is off target as it flies over the bar from 18 yards.
90' + 2'
Blackburn have it back and are keeping the ball as they look to create one more chance...
90' + 1'
It's City who come forward now, and they have a corner which is headed away. The visitors come back quickly and Clichy floats a cross in from the left, which Spurr blasts out of play for a throw.
There will be at least four minutes of stoppage time, and City have the ball in their own half. A roar goes up from the home fans; they want a winning goal.
Into the very late stages at Ewood Park. The hosts are well on top now but can they find a winner?
Great defending by Lescott!! Taylor drives in a very dangerous cross and it bounces just in front of the defender. The ball looks bound for Rhodes before Lescott heads it behind for a corner.
JUST WIDE FROM CAIRNEY!! That's a lovely move from the hosts as Dann finds Campbell on the wing, and the striker plays a delightful reverse pass backwards for Cairney, who drills an effort just wide of the far post.
The hosts have another long throw and Spurr launches it into the area. Hanley goes up but Lescott does well to head it away. Blackburn still in possession though.
BOYATA IS SENT OFF!! The defender gets his second yellow card for a silly late challenge on Campbell. Will City be hanging on now?
CAMPBELL HEADS WIDE!! Lovely move from Blackburn as Campbell sets Rhodes away down the right-hand side before sprinting to get in the box. Rhodes takes his time before floating a cross towards the edge of the box, but Campbell has to generate all the power himself and his header goes wide of the post.
WIDE FROM NAVAS!! Blackburn have a long throw fired in by Spurr again but City break, and Dzeko switches play with an excellent ball across the field. It eventually comes to Navas, who cuts on to his right and fires it wide of the far post.
The two Blackburn strikers are off as Marshall and Gestede, both of whom have worked tirelessly this afternoon, make way.
OVER FROM TOURE!! Relentless pressure from City finally sees a chance as Garcia wins it on the edge of the box before Silva flicks it into the path of Toure, who flashes a volley just over the crossbar.
Milner, who has been absolutely everywhere today, plays the ball back from the left towards Toure, who lifts a ball over looking for Dzeko, but Dann gets a vital touch to send it behind for a corner.
Jordan Rhodes and DJ Campbell will shortly be coming on for the hosts. Bowyer is going for it as we approach the final 10 minutes.
NAVAS GOES CLOSE!! The winger almost makes an immediate impact as he receives the ball 25 yards out, works it on to his right and fires a dipping effort towards the corner of the net which Robinson does really well to divert around the post.
Here's a bizarre one - apparently Pellegrini wanted to take off Dzeko but gave the fourth official the wrong number!! Incredible!
Negredo makes way for the Spanish winger and City have the ball, but Milner eventually loses out to Henley and the hosts have a throw right by their own corner flag.
Jesús Navas González
It looks like Jesus Navas is about to be introduced. Pellegrini wants to stretch the hosts and get this tie done and dusted.
ROCKET FROM DZEKO!! Robinson has a very lucky escape!! The striker has the ball 30 yards out and drills a fierce effort at goal. It's straight at the Blackburn goalkeeper but he fumbles the effort and bounces down before hitting him on the leg and he gathers at the second attempt. That could so easily have gone into the net.
Gestede does really well to put pressure on Lescott and he plays the ball straight into the path of Lowe. Spurr then lifts the ball over the head of Boyata for King to chase, but the defender does well to keep possession and clear.
The last 25 minutes have absolutely flown by, and we've got just 20 left at Ewood Park. Can either side force their way in front, or will they both be in the pot for the fourth round draw?
VITAL DEFENDING FROM SPURR!! Dzeko finds Negredo, who does well to skip past Henley but Spurr charges across brilliantly to poke the ball away from the striker and out for a corner, which Garcia heads well over.
Yellow CardD. Boyata
King has looked very lively since coming on, and he breaks down the left before being felled by Boyata, earning the defender a yellow card. The free kick is launched forward and comes back out to Marshall, who fires a 30-yard effort way over the bar.
Amidst all that madness Yaya Toure was also introduced. He's been amongst the goals for City this season, and Pellegrini will be hoping that form continues today.
Substitute Joshua King chases a high aimless ball into the area, and again Pantilimon looks shaky, somehow flapping it away. His boot was incredibly high, though, yet nothing is given by the referee.
GARCIA HEADS WIDE OF HIS OWN GOAL!! Another long throw is launched in and the midfielder can only flick it backwards, but it goes wide for a corner.
NEGREDO SHOULD SCORE!! The striker heads down for Dzeko, who tests Robinson from 20 yards with a volley towards the top corner. The goalkeeper parries it, but straight to Negredo, who has the goal at his mercy but heads wide. Big, big let-off.
OVER FROM TAYLOR!! The hosts have a free kick and Cairney's ball goes out to the far side, but Gestede does really well to use his strength and keep possession. The ball is eventually worked inside and a low cross is fired across the box, and Taylor meets it just a few yards out but can only divert it high over the bar.
Brilliant by Hanley!! Henley gives it straight to a black shirt and City break incredibly quickly. Negredo is set away and the visitors have two against one, but Hanley times his challenge perfectly to deflect the striker's pass - intended for Dzeko - back to his goalkeeper.
The noise levels have drastically increased in the last couple of minutes, and the Blackburn players can clearly feel it as they are chasing hard. Meanwhile, it looks like Yaya Toure may shortly be introduces for the visitors.
CHANCE FOR CAIRNEY!! Spurr fires in an enormous long throw and several players go up for it. The ball then drops towards the Blackburn winger but he can't react quickly enough to divert an effort on target.
Spurr gets forward and looks to get in a cross, but Lescott comes across and forces a throw off the left-back. Blackburn have it back, though, as Boyata puts it out of play.
Well, now we've got a game on our hands! That's no more than the hosts deserve after their first-half performance. It was looking like slipping away from them but they survived the early pressure in this half.
DANN LEVELS IT!! The captain makes it 1-1!! It's a big error from Pantilimon as Gestede heads straight at the goalkeeper from the corner, but he fumbles the effort and Dann is first to it, prodding it home from close range.
Lowe does well to win a throw on the right-hand side, and the ball eventually comes to Taylor, who goes up against Clichy and his cross deflects off the defender, just going out of play for a corner...
Lovely play bny Milner as he takes out two defenders with one pass to find Boyata, who charges towards the box and slides a pass through for Negredo, but Hanley gets across well to shield the ball out of play.
Negredo feels the full force of a challenge by Hanley and City have a free kick just inside the Blackburn half. The visitors are starting to control things now.
Blackburn have a corner but Pantilimon claims easily and City come straight back at the hosts. The ball is lifted into the area for Dzeko, who tries to flick a header back towards Negredo but he can't get enough on it and Robinson picks it up.
The visitors have started the half very brightly. Dzeko spreads it wide to Milner and Spurr comes across well to challenge. Somehow, again, a goal kick is given when it clearly came off the defender. The away fans are furious, while Spurr has a rye grin on his face.
City immediately break up the other end and Boyata exchanges passes with Dzeko before sliding in to try and fire the ball across goal. Hanley comes across to challenge and it goes behind, but the last touch is apparently off Boyata and the hosts have a goal kick.
Williamson completely overhits a pass out wide, but Fernandinho clatters into him and Blackburn have a free kick in the middle of the pitch nearly 40 yards out, but Cairney's delivery is headed away by Dzeko.
We're back underway as Man City kick off the second half. No changes so far.
Just a few minutes left until the restart at Ewood Park. Will we see Jordan Rhodes at any point? He already has 16 goals this season and will certainly make things difficult for the City defence.
The positive signs are there for Gary Bowyer's men, though. Cairney and Marshall have been impressive on the wings and Taylor has been making a real nuisance of himself in the middle. Rovers will definitely feel they can get back in this.
The goal aside, City actually had very few chances. Silva had the best one, firing over from 12 yards, but overall Blackburn have stifled the visitors well. Just a momentary lapse on 45 minutes and they're behind.
That's HALF TIME at Ewood Park and the visitors go in behind. Hanley and Taylor are furious and start shoving each other!! You can understand the frustration, there, as they've fallen behind with practically the last kick of the half.
45' + 1'
That's so, so harsh on Blackburn. There's even a hint of offside, too. Gary Bowyer will be devastated after his side have put in an excellent performance so far.
NEGREDO BREAKS THE DEADLOCK!! It's a bitter blow for the hosts as City win a corner, and Dzeko flicks it on from the penalty spot, giving the simplest chance for Negredo to tap it in at the far post.
Negredo and Boyata pop up on the right-hand side, but Marshall tracks back well to see it out for a throw before the hosts get it back and come forward themselves. The winger goes up against Boyata and hits the ground as the defender comes across, but the referee gives nothing and it's a goal kick.
Silva is caught in midfield and the visitors have a free kick, which he takes quickly and he's quickly involved again, setting Fernandinho through the middle, but the midfielder can't quite get it under control and Blackburn clear.
Robinson scuffs a clearance but it almost pays off and goes through for Gestede, but the striker can't get to it and City have the ball back. Can someone break the deadlock before half time?
CLOSE FOR BLACKBURN!! Marshall is set free on the left and plays in his best cross of the match, but it evades both Gestede and Cairney by inches. Moments later, Williamson squares to Taylor who fires over from the edge of the box.
Silva looks for Clichy on the left-hand side with a lofted pass, and Henley comes across to clear but slices it out for a throw. The hosts eventually do well to win possession, though, and have a chance to relieve the pressure and come forward themselves.
Negredo is still unhappy about that decision. Spurr had his arm on the striker but it probably wasn't enough of a tug back to make a strong man like Negredo fall over.
Danger for Blackburn as Milner swings in a right-footed ball, and Negredo tries to flick it on towards goal but goes down under a challenge from Spurr. He wants a penalty but nothing is given and Robinson has the ball.
SILVA BLAZES OVER!! That's a poor effort from the Spaniard. Milner whips in a cross from the left and it's half-cleared, but Fernandinho gets to the by-line and pulls back to Silva, who is in acres of space in the box but skies his effort high into the stand.
City are camping in Blackburn's half, now. The pressure is really on and the hosts will be desperate to hold on until half time.
The last couple of minutes have just swung things in City's favour, but overall Blackburn will be very happy with the game so far. They've restricted the visitors' chances and have got forward well themselves, but will be disappointed with the quality of the final ball.
Fernandinho takes the ball from Williamson and finds Silva, who moves towards the right-hand edge of the box. He lays back to Boyata before making a run into the area, but the defender's return pass is poor and goes out for a goal kick.
ALMOST FOR NEGREDO!! That's a wonderful piece of skill from the striker as he receives a pass from Dzeko on the edge of the box before flicking the ball over the defender's head, but he can't quite get on the end of it before Robinson collects. Amazing skill, though, reminiscent of the famous Dennis Bergkamp goal against Newcastle some years ago.
Cairney fires a delightful ball across the pitch for Marshall on the left-hand side. The winger's delivery isn't up to scratch, though, and it goes out for a goal kick.
The hosts come forward again, and again Cairney and Taylor are involved before Spurr receives it on the left. He crosses to the far post looking for Gestede but Pantilimon claims. City immediately break forward and Milner squares to Fernandinho, who fires a low shot from 20 yards straight at Robinson.
The visitors eventually win the ball back and Milner comes forward along the left flank, but his cross doesn't find a City player with forward committed forward, before he receives it again and his next attempt is claimed by Robinson.
Blackburn are bossing things in midfield at the moment. Taylor in particular has been hassling the City players, while Cairney has been very impressive on the flank. City have their work cut out here.
Milner is caught offside and Blackburn come forward with a Robinson kick. Marshall has the ball 25 yards out and fires in a shot which hits Lescott on the arm, but nothing is given.
City come forward and it's Silva who picks it up on the right-hand side, before cutting on to his left and drilling in a cross, but Hanley is there first to clear convincingly.
Dann wins the header again, this time at the far post, but it loops up high and Pantilimon plucks it out of the air, giving him a chance to alleviate some of the pressure. A great spell for the hosts.
Yellow CardMatija Nastasic
That's vital from Lescott!! Cairney swings the ball in left-footed and the City centre-back flicks the ball behind for a corner with a Blackburn man coming in for it right behind him.
Good skill from Cairney to skip a challenge and spread wide to Marshall, who runs past Milner before firing in a cross which Pantilimon claims. The hosts come straight back, though, as Gestede is taken out by Nastasic just outside the box. Danger here...
DANN HEADS AT GOAL!! The defender rises high in the area to meet the corner and powers a header straight at Pantilimon. If it was a couple of feet either side of the City shot-stopper he may have been in trouble.
We have a shot!! Taylor outmuscles Garcia and drives forward before firing an effort at goal from 25 yards, but it deflects off two men and goes behind for a corner.
Negredo is nearly in as Silva lofts a diagonal ball over the defence and into the box, but it just skips off the surface and goes straight into Robinson's arms.
Taylor does really well to skip past Fernandinho in midfield, but doesn't have as much joy getting past Garcia, and City have the ball back under their control.
Negredo tries to power into the area but runs it straight out of play for a goal kick. It's not coming off for the visitors at the moment, and they look a little narrow.
Good work by Spurr on the wing as Milner tries to get past him, but the full-back manages to dispossess the City man and win a throw for his side as well.
Garcia doesn't mess with a long Robinson ball forward, volleying it out of play for a throw. This game hasn't quite got going just yet.
Williamson fires in a good ball looking for Taylor, but Pantilimon is out well to claim it before setting his side away on the attack. Milner gets towards the box and has Fernandinho on an overlap, but overhits the pass and the hosts have a goal kick.
A pretty even opening 10 minutes, then, but the visitors are just starting to string together some possession. Blackburn are resorting to long balls already, and Gestede could have a lot of running to do this afternoon.
Taylor chases a ball hard down the right and lets Clichy know he's there by sliding in to try and keep the ball in play, not managing it, but sending the City defender into the advertising boards.
Dzeko drops back to collect the ball before spreading it wide to Milner, who wins a corner off Spurr, but Hanley does well to hack away the delivery.
Gestede receives a long ball forward from Dann and charges into the box. Lescott gets across to battle with the striker and in the end the Blackburn man concedes a free kick.
Boyata puts Pantilimon under a bit of pressure with a bouning pass back, and the goalkeeper doesn't connect with his clearance fully, but Blackburn can't make the most of the opportunity as the ball is played out too hard to Cairney and it goes out for a throw.
Silva collects the ball in an advanced position and is clipped by Lowe, giving them a chance to fire in a free kick, but the Spaniard's floated ball evades everyone and goes behind for a goal kick.
Now it's City's turn to see some of the ball which, incidentally, is a very fetching shade of pink. The visitors are in no rush to push forward and the back four are passing amongst themselves.
It's a bright start from the hosts, and Marshall advances down the left flank before pulling a cross back to the edge of the box, but Lescott hammers it clear.
We're underway in the FA Cup third round as Blackburn get the game started.
The teams are out at Ewood Park which, surprisingly, isn't completely packed out. The noise is still pretty impressive though, and we're just a few minutes away from kick-off.
Rovers, meanwhile, have won the cup six times, but it's a rather lengthy 86 years since they last lifted it. Despite a raft of changes from the City squad, you suspect the hosts won't be ending that run this year...
City have enjoyed mixed fortunes in the FA Cup recently. Their 35-year trophy drought ended with a win over Stoke City in the 2011 final, but they were left stunned at Wembley last year after a late Ben Watson strike saw Wigan pip the Citizens to the trophy.
The problem for Gary Bowyer's men, though, is that they've failed to win their next nine meetings with City since then. There's also the small matter of the visitors' superb recent form, during which they've won eight of their last nine Premier League games.
Seven years ago, in their last FA Cup meeting, Rovers beat City in the quarter-final before registering a 1-0 win over Stuart Pearce's side in the Premier League not long after.
After four games in 12 days over the Christmas period, it's a much-changed visiting line-up as Manuel Pellegrini brings in seven new faces after the win over Swansea. Costel Pantilimon, Dedryck Boyata, Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy, James Milner, Javi Garcia and David Silva all earn starts.
The hosts make three changes ahead of this mammoth fixture, with Paul Robinson coming back in between the posts, while Adam Henley and Jason Lowe also return. Striker Rudy Gestede, fresh from his permanent move from Cardiff City on New Year's Day, leads the line for the hosts, meaning the prolific Jordan Rhodes starts on the bench.
MAN CITY: Pantilimon; Boyata, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy; Fernandinho, Garcia; Milner, Silva; Negredo, Dzeko. // Subs: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Toure, Navas, Lopes.
BLACKBURN: Robinson; Henley, Dann, Hanley, Spurr; Williamson, Lowe; Marshall, Cairney, Taylor; Gestede. // Subs: Eastwood, Kilgallon, King, Campbell, Rhodes, Rochina, Judge.
The teams are in, so let's get straight to it and bring you the line-ups, starting with the hosts...
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the FA Cup third round as Championship side Blackburn Rovers host in-form Premier League outfit Manchester City.
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