Manchester City FC blew the opportunity to rise to the top of the Premier League as they lost 2-1 at home to Everton FC.
City began the final domestic fixture before Christmas two points behind rivals Manchester United FC, having played a game more, and a third consecutive league victory would have seen them claim the summit. However, first-half efforts from Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines rocked the hosts and a Phil Jagielka own goal was the only response Roberto Mancini's charges could muster in a game both sides finished with ten men.
Everton's opening to the contest belied their form – without a win in seven matches – as they took the lead inside four minutes when an unmarked Cahill headed in Seamus Coleman's cross. It was 2-0 on 19 minutes as Baines curled a sublime effort around Joe Hart following a flowing move down the left as Pablo Zabaleta was receiving treatment for a head injury.
City's hopes of a comeback improved when Victor Anichebe received a second yellow card on the hour and Jagielka deflected in Yaya Touré's strike with 18 minutes remaining. Mario Balotelli hit the post as the home side pushed on but an equaliser evaded them, Kolo Touré's late dismissal for two quick bookings summing up their frustration.
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