MAN CITY 2, CHELSEA 0.
Manchester City produced a display worthy of champions to defeat Chelsea and keep alive their faint hopes of holding on to their Barclays Premier League title.
Goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez reduced United’s advantage from 15 to 12 points on an afternoon when defeat would almost certainly killed off their championship hopes.
Yet it was far from a straightforward victory and it could easily have been a different outcome had Frank Lampard not had a penalty saved when the game remained goalless.
City rode their luck and two goals in the last half hour from Toure and Tevez gave them a seven-point advantage over Chelsea who would have moved to within one point of City had they triumphed at the Eithad Stadium.
It was a City performance which delighted manager Roberto Mancini who first paid tribute to Pope Benedict XV1 who today gave his final address before standing down on Thursday at the age of 85 years.
Mancini, turning to the game, said: “I think we deserved to win because we played well and may be could have scored more goals.
“It is not important for us to look at the table, but continue to play like we did today, work and to improve which we can do.
“May be we can look at the table in one month or 40 days time, We can’t think that it’s finished with 11 games left though, if United are 12 points clear with four games left, we are finished.”
Yaya Toure had a chance to give City the lead after only 42 seconds, but Petr Cech made a relatively straightforward save.
Sadly it was not be the sequel to a thrilling opening period which was a somewhat cagey affair with both sides operating with only one front man.
City had the lion’s share of possession and chances without really troubling Cech.
A downward header from Matija Nastasic was beaten out by Cech who also saved well from Jack Rodwell, one of three first-half chances the former Eveton player had.
Chelsea, second best for most of the opening half, had a chance to snatch the lead soon after the restart when they were awarded a penalty after City keeper Joe Hart brought down Demba Ba as he burst clear.
Lampard stepped forward only to see Hart save his spot kick low to his right as he looked for his 200th goal for Chelsea. He had converted his 10 previous spot kicks.
Had Lampard scored, Mancini added he believed City were paying well enough to get back into the game with 40 minutes left.
How Chelsea were to rue their penalty miss as City took a 63rd minute lead through Toure.
David Silva cut the ball back to Toure on the edge of the penalty area as he cut inside and bent a shot low to the left of Cech.
Chelsea threw on Oscar, Victor Moses and latterly Fernando Torres with nine minutes left in pursuit of an equaliser.
But it was City who found the net for a second time as substitute Tevez sealed victory with five minutes left.
David Silva and Sergio Aguero linked superbly to set up Tevez who found the top corner from the edge of the box with a terrific shot.