Manchester City hung on at the end of their FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers to earn a replay as they were almost knocked out by the Championship outfit.
Manchester City had appeared to rectify their stuttering away form in recent fixtures, but they got off to a sluggish start at Ewood Park as the hosts enjoyed the better of the early game. Scott Dann twice missed chances from corners by heading straight at Costel Pantilimon, although the visitors had a good chance when Alvaro Negredo burst into the game by flicking the ball away from his marker before Paul Robinson was off his line to deny him.
As the half wore on, City came into the game more and more and had a penalty shot turned down when Negredo went tumbling under Tommy Spurr's challenge, but the referee waved play on. It proved to make little difference as the Spaniard opened the scoring just afterwards and right before halftime, collecting Edin Dzeko's flick from a corner and converting from close range.
After a fine start, the goal frustrated the hosts, but ten minutes into the second half, Blackburn found an equaliser. Rudy Gestede's header from a corner was dropped by Pantilimon, allowing Scott Dann to turn the ball home from close range and put the hosts right back into the game.
The remainder of the game proved to be end-to-end - City initially struggled to break Blackburn down, only able to test Paul Robinson from range, but test him they did - as the former England keeper had to be at his best to keep out efforts from Dzeko and later Jesus Navas, but City could not convert from either corner.
Blackburn then hurled on DJ Campbell and Jordan Rhodes to find a winner, and the latter almost provided for the former when his cross from a breakaway found the former Blackpool striker arriving in the area, but his header was off target. The hosts then got a huge boost when Dedryck Boyata saw a second yellow for a clumsy challenge, leaving Blackburn facing 10 men. Tom Cairney almost made it count with a curling shot from a loose ball, but his long-range effort just curled wide with Pantilimon beaten.
Despite the numerical advantage, Blackburn could not put City under any further pressure in injury-time, with the Citizens able to run down the clock and escape with a replay at the Etihad Stadium - not the best outcome for keeping their squad fit, but one they will be very comfortable favourites to win.
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Spurr, Williamson, Lowe, Taylor, Cairney, Marshall, Gestede
Goals: Dann 55'
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy, Milner, Fernandinho, Garcia, Silva, Negredo, Dzeko
Goals: Negredo 45'