Man City cancel Abu Dhabi trip due to replay
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Saturday that his club have cancelled a trip to Abu Dhabi after they were taken to an FA Cup replay by Blackburn Rovers.
Abu Dhabi-owned City were due to travel to the United Arab Emirates for a friendly against Al Ain on January 14 and a week of warm-weather training, but instead they must prepare for the replay with second-tier Blackburn.
Alvaro Negredo put City in front on the stroke of half-time in the third-round tie at Ewood Park, only for Blackburn captain Scott Dann to earn his side a 1-1 draw with a 55th-minute equaliser.
City later had right-back Dedryck Boyata sent off for two bookable offences.
With City second in the Premier League and also still in contention in the League Cup and the Champions League, the replay is a fixture that Pellegrini could do without, but he believes that it could prove beneficial.
"You never know what is better," he said. "We were going to be travelling to Abu Dhabi and having a friendly match there, now we are going to play against Blackburn Rovers at home. What is better? It is impossible to know.
"It (the replay) is not an extra problem. We have to play another match and have the squad to do it, but we will continue making the rotation. That is better for the squad."
Stunned by Wigan Athletic in last year's final, City took the lead at Ewood Park through an Alvaro Negredo goal on the stroke of half-time, only for Scott Dann to equalise early in the second period.
City, currently second in the Premier League, also had defender Dedryck Boyata sent off late on for two bookable offences and now face an unwelcome replay against Gary Bowyer's side.
"I think it was a very close game," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told BT Sport.
"They're a difficult team and they play here with a lot of intensity, so we must decide who continues in the FA Cup at home."
Pellegrini made seven changes to his starting XI, while former England international Paul Robinson returned in goal for Blackburn after spending almost 12 months out due to a blood clot on his lung.
The visitors enjoyed the best of the first half but had to wait until the 45th minute to go ahead, with Negredo volleying home at the back post after Edin Dzeko headed on David Silva's left-wing corner.
City had gone into the game on a run of seven straight wins, but they conceded an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half when Dann pounced after visiting goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon allowed Rudy Gestede's header to bounce off his gloves.
Chris Taylor came close to putting Blackburn in front, while Robinson had to save from Dzeko and substitute Jesus Navas at the other end, before Boyata saw red following an ill-advised swipe at DJ Campbell.
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