Bosnian ends nine-game Premier League run without a goal to tighten Roberto Mancini's side's grip on a Champions League spot
A goal drought not quite on the same level as Fernando Torres' ended at Ewood Park on Monday evening as Edin Dzeko notched his first Premier League goal to hand Manchester City victory over Blackburn Rovers.
It was the Bosnian's 10th league outing since his £27 million arrival from Wolfsburg and much like Torres, his control and finish resembled that of an accomplished finisher, rather than a forward starved of goals and confidence.
The importance of the strike is huge in terms of City securing Champions League football next season. Roberto Mancini's side open up a four-point gap ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, while Blackburn, who are without a win in 10 games, teeter just one point above the drop zone.
City started the match on the front foot, attacking from the off with David Silva smashing a lovely volley against the post in just the fourth minute.
Pablo Zabaleta charged up the right wing and crossed to Gareth Barry who set the ball nicely for the Spaniard to let rip from the edge of the box, but Paul Robinson’s right post kept the score goalless.
Although there wasn’t much goalmouth action during the first 15 minutes, Silva was beginning to dictate the tempo, teasing the Blackburn defence and midfield with his exquisite ball control, but Blackburn were holding strong.
The home side did eventually adventure into the City box in the 20th minute and something very nearly came of it after Jason Roberts went tumbling following a clip on the foot from Vincent Kompany, but the referee gave a goal-kick, despite replays showing blatant contact on the striker.
After the rejected penalty claim, the match entered a scrappy phase, where both sides struggled to create chances. The best of which fell to Rovers' Benjani, but the former Eastlands striker glanced his free header well wide of Joe Hart's goal.
It was defender Chris Samba who ended up going closest for Blackburn just before the interval as the Congolese centre-back towered above the City defence and headed back across goal, only to see it sail just past the post.
After a good 15 minutes from Rovers, City finished the first half on the attack with Adam Johnson causing trouble down the left by putting in some tantalising crosses, but Robinson had the measure of them.
Relief | Edin Dzeko nets his first Premier League goal for Manchester City
After the break, it didn’t take long before City had another chance, this time Yaya Toure’s back-post header was tipped over by Robinson, a start to the half that showed intent, but seemed to spur on Blackburn.
The hosts really should have taken the lead in the 50th minute as they had two good chances within seconds of each other after a Brett Emerton cross found Roberts, but the former Wigan man’s header was tame and ended up floating to Martin Olsson, who lashed the ball into the side-netting from eight yards.
Blackburn continued to be the better team in the second half with Barcelona youth-product Ruben Rochina coming on off the bench and providing some exciting touches.
Although Blackburn were arguably the better side for the majority of the second half, it was City who eventually took the lead in the 75th minute through Dzeko. After good work down the left by Barry, the midfielder found Silva inside the box who shot, but the attempt ended up at the feet of the Bosnian who smashed home from nine yards.
Blackburn had a good chance to get back on terms in the closing moments when Phil Jones headed over a left-wing Rochina free-kick but the midfielder's frustration at failing to hit the target was a similar sentiment shared with those in the home crowd, who now face a nervy relegation run-in.
Commentaries, Stats, Player Ratings and much more,
Visit Goal.com Live Scores!