Millennium Post

City down Chelsea to keep title hopes alive

Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez kept Manchester City’s title hopes alive after Frank Lampard’s penalty miss cost Chelsea in their 2-0 defeat at Eastlands on Sunday. Roberto Mancini’s side were languishing 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after their rivals’ win over QPR on Saturday, but they still retain a faint chance of retaining the title after Joe Hart’s save from Lampard’s penalty sparked City into life.

Lampard, seeking his 200th goal for his club, was presented with the perfect opportunity after 51 minutes when City goalkeeper Hart brought down Demba Ba as he attempted to round him following a Branislav Ivanovic through ball that was misjudged by Kolo Toure. Hart escaped even a yellow, let alone red, card for the infringement and made the most of his reprieve by producing a superb save to keep out Lampard’s spot kick low at the foot of his right-hand post.

Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure added to Chelsea’s frustrations after 62 minutes, appearing on the end of a slick passing move and a short David Silva pass to curl the ball into the bottom corner of the goal from a dozen yards. And with five minutes remaining, Silva and Sergio Aguero toyed with the opposition with neat passing on the edge of the area before teeing up Argentine forward Tevez, whose 18-yard shot flew into the goal. While City can still dream of a title miracle, third placed Chelsea are now only two points clear of fifth placed Arsenal and face a battle just to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Still, despite ending a run of three league games without victory, second placed City will need a major meltdown from United to make up the vast gap at the top. As befitting their desperate position in the title race, City started the contest with a sense of urgency, Yaya Toure testing Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal inside the opening seconds.

Silva’s 14th minute corner was met by Matija Nastasic whose firm header drew an acrobatic reflex save from Cech. Chelsea began to enjoy some possession of their own, without troubling Hart in the City goal, and Lampard, seeking his double century in goals for the club, wasted one such opening as he planted a free-kick harmlessly over from 35 yards.
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