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Chelsea beats Man City 2-1 in Premier League

Updated: December 12, 2011, 17:10


Chelsea's Frank Lampard, right, celebrates his penalty goal as Manchester City's goalkeeper Joe Hart looks on during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON(AP) Frank Lampard condemned Manchester City to its first Premier League defeat of the season by converting a late penalty to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

The England midfielder came off the bench to smash home an unstoppable spot kick in the 82nd minute after City defender Joleon Lescott blocked a shot by Daniel Sturridge with his hand.

The visitors were at that stage down to 10 men following the 58th-minute sending-off of left back Gael Clichy for two yellow cards and couldn't recover, leaving them two points clear of Manchester United at the top of standings.

City had taken the lead after just two minutes through Italy striker Mario Balotelli's eighth goal of the season, before Raul Meireles equalized in the 34th minute of an enthralling game played in a biting wind.

Chelsea's third straight victory lifted the team above Tottenham to third, seven points behind City, and blows the title race wide open.

City had been unbeaten in 17 consecutive league matches dating back to last season's 2-1 defeat at Everton in May and will look back on Clichy's deserved red card as the turning point.

Having already dispatched Manchester United 6-1 and Tottenham 5-1 on its travels this season, City's commanding start to the match suggested another title contender was going to be on the end of a hammering by Roberto Mancini's free-scoring team.

Barely 105 seconds had been played when Balotelli - just about onside despite Chelsea's protestations - ran onto Sergio Aguero's through-ball, rounded goalkeeper Petr Cech with ease and slotted into an empty net. Chelsea's high defensive line, which has been the subject of much focus this season, was again found out.

It began a period of relentless City pressure, with Aguero lashing wide left-footed with the goal at his mercy and David Silva being denied what appeared a clear penalty when he fell under a tackle from Jose Bosingwa.

With Silva, Aguero and Yaya Toure in particular running rings around Chelsea's midfield, the visitors were in total control but the home side weathered the storm and drew level through Meireles.

The Portugal midfielder, again selected ahead of Lampard, made the kind of late run into the box his teammate has produced so often down the years to meet Sturridge's cross with a sidefooted volley from six yards.

With Chelsea tightening up its midfield, the match became more even before Clichy's recklessness left City a man short for the final 32 minutes.

The France left back had already been booked for hauling down the dangerous Sturridge at the start of the second half when he clipped Ramires as the Brazil midfielder charged through, giving referee Mark Clattenburg no option but to brandish a second yellow card.

Aguero and Silva were withdrawn as City looked to protect its point but some good defensive work by captain Vincent Kompany especially was undone by Lescott's blatant handball as he tried to block Sturridge's curling shot.

Lampard, who had replaced Meireles in the 72nd minute, stepped up to ram home the penalty down the middle and City had no time to react.

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