Vieira to the rescue after Hart's howler

Manchester City 1 Blackburn Rovers 1: City stutter at home to Blackburn as England goalkeeper gifts goal to Kalinic

The cynics who frequent Summerbee's bar and other mischief-makers around Eastlands are fond of a theory that Patrick Vieira is Roberto Mancini's obscenely well-paid dressing-room stooge. The Frenchman is staring at his 35th birthday and will not present a counter- argument that his best days are certainly behind him, but he provided something far more precious for his Italian manager than alleged player tittle-tattle and eased the sense of embarrassment for the England goalkeeper, Joe Hart.

Hart has turned more things into gold than Midas since his elevation to first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Shay Given this season. He has rewarded Mancini's faith and proved himself to be the most competent young goalkeeper in the country with some confident displays for England. But the impetuosity of youth can be a risky business, and that was demonstrated with catastrophic consequences by Hart's awful first-half mix-up with Kolo Touré that left City staring at the prospect of a second straight defeat.

The England international was 30 yards from his goalline when he suffered a communication breakdown with Touré in attempting to deal with Morten Gamst Pedersen's industrial punt. Both players failed to deal with the situation and Nikola Kalinic stole the ball for the easiest goal he will score all season.

"This is a fluke, it can happen in football," City's manager said. "Joe Hart is a good goalkeeper, but I hope after today we finish making gifts to the opponent."

Vieira, on his first Premier League start this season, emerged from his own first-half tribulations and a performance that made him look far off the pace with a reprise of his heady days at Arsenal. The speed may be slower, but the stride length remains unmistakable. He covered the ground from Blackburn's half of the centre circle into their six-yard box effortlessly and tapped in Carlos Tevez's return pass after two would-be markers abandoned their responsibilities.

The point brought some relief, but City's start has been far from the impressive one their owners dreamt of. Only one win in their first four games means they are already seven points behind the leaders, Chelsea, and they are nowhere near the kind of ruthless, efficient unit that Mancini needs.

If they continue to squander the number of chances they created here, the League title will remain as far away as ever. "We are very unlucky because we are missing a lot of important players through injury and we conceded a strange goal and after that we had 25 chances to score," Mancini said. "We must accept this result and continue to work."

Many of the chances foundered at the fingertips and hands of Paul Robinson before Christopher Samba underlined the determination and sense of team spirit Rovers have and City are still trying to generate, with a wonderful goalline block to deny the Brazilian striker Jo.

Afterwards Rovers' manager, Sam Allardyce, said: "It was a great performance, and the immense difference between both clubs is we've measured up to a team that should have brushed us aside in terms of the quality they can afford and the wages they can pay and the limited budget that we work on. For Manchester City it was an upset but [it was] a well-deserved result for us."

Allardyce is entitled to feel satisfied. Whereas City spent £125 million on players over the summer, Blackburn's only transfer expenditure was a nominal fee for a youth player. But there was no need for the antics of El-Hadji Diouf after the final whistle. His provocative blowing of kisses to the main stand and kissing of his armpits in a celebration intended to wind up his hosts were beyond acceptance.

It led to a water bottle being thrown in his direction, and City may yet find themselves the subject of a police investigation for the minor incident.

Substitutes: Man City: Jo for Wright-Phillips (57), Barry for Vieira (66), Silva for A Johnson (85). Blackburn: Olsson for Nelsen (40), Chimbonda for Salgado (46), Nzonzi for Grella (57).

Bookings: Man City: Yaya Touré, Vieira. Blackburn: Chimbonda.

Attendance: 44,246

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Robinson

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?