City’s 17-game league unbeaten streak ended as Frank Lampard converted a late penalty kick that lifted Chelsea to a 2-1 victory Monday night.
“Chelsea were really lucky in this game,” City manager Roberto Mancini said. “We are disappointed with this defeat but we have time to recover.”
Mario Balotelli put the visitors ahead after 105 seconds, but Raul Meireles tied it in the 34th minute.
Lampard replaced Meireles in the 73rd and tied the score nine minutes later, beating goalkeeperJoe Hart with a shot down the middle after City defender Joleon Lescott used a hand to block an attempt by Daniel Sturridge.
“I had a feeling in the second half that it was going to be our night,” Lampard said. “You’ve got to be big enough to stand up and take them (penalties), and I was very relieved when it hit the back of the net.”
City played a man short after left back Gael Clichy was ejected in the 58th minute for two yellow cards in a 12-minute span.
“We didn’t score enough in the first half and then the game changed after the sending-off. It became difficult,” Mancini said.
Manchester City (12-1-2), seeking its first league title since 1968, has a two-point lead over Manchester United (11-1-3). Chelsea (10-4-1) is fourth on goal difference behind Tottenham (10-3-1), seven points off the lead.
“It’s a gratifying win,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said. “Seven points behind, with so many teams challenging for the title, is nothing.”
City had not lost in the league since a 2-1 defeat at Everton on May 7.