Geovanni strikes to frustrate City

Geovanni returned to haunt Manchester City by salvaging a 2-2 draw for Hull City at the KC Stadium today. Mark Hughes's side were on course to end a three-match losing run when Stephen Ireland replied to Daniel Cousin's early opener with a double that put the visitors in control.

But Geovanni, who was released by City in the close season, left his former employers frustrated when he fired home a deflected free-kick in the second half. Hughes insists City's Abu Dhabi-based owners will give him time to turn the club's fortunes around, but the longer his team remain within touching distance of the relegation zone, the more precarious his position continues to look.

After three successive defeats, it was no surprise that City looked nervous in the early stages. Hull tore into them and threatened to take an early lead when Sam Ricketts whipped in a cross to Dean Marney. The midfielder cushioned a pass to Ian Ashbee, but he scuffed his shot wide.

City were creaking already but the manner of Hull's opening goal in the 14th minute was a new low for them. Micah Richards played the ball to his defensive partner Tal Ben Haim, who had time to clear down-field but inexplicably rolled a lazy backpass to Cousin, who could not believe his luck as he slotted into the empty net.

To make matters worse for City, England keeper Joe Hart was left injured on the turf, and limped off after several minutes of treatment to be replaced by Kasper Schmeichel. Cousin should have increased the Tigers' lead when he met Ricketts' cross with a glancing header, but his effort fell just wide.

That let-off galvanised City and they began to pressure Hull for the first time. Even so, it took another defensive mistake for the visitors to level in the 37th minute.

This time Kamil Zayatte was the culprit. Robinho's through-ball missed every blue shirt and was collected with ease by the Hull defender, but he carelessly played the ball back across his own goal and into the path of Ireland, who tapped into an open net.

Suddenly City had all the momentum and Ireland put them in front on the stroke of half-time, when he collected Javier Garrido's pass and curled a superb strike past Boaz Myhill.

But as quickly as they had the upper hand, City lost it again in the second half. It took just two minutes for Geovanni to threaten with a bicycle-kick from King's cross.

Brown's team got their equaliser on the hour in slightly fortunate fashion. Geovanni's free-kick took a deflection off Vincent Kompany in the wall and left Schmeichel wrong-footed as it flashed into the net. It was the Brazilian's sixth Premier League goal of the season.

Hull had the scent of victory now and almost took the lead seconds later, when Cousin's diving header forced Schmeichel to save. Geovanni had three successive free-kicks from 20 yards in the closing stages, but none managed to clear the wall. With 90 minutes up, Vassell broke clear and hooked a shot goalwards, only to see Myhill beat the ball away at his near post.