The Barclays Premier League title may now be out of reach for Manchester City. Supporters had held on to hopes of their side lifting the trophy following a weekend defeat by Liverpool, but last night they were left clutching at straws.
A 2-2 draw with bottom side Sunderland has left City six points off the lead with just one game in hand.
It is at least more than Vito Mannone was able to cling to. The Sunderland goalkeeper burst out
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of his area to celebrate as Connor Wickham planted a second goal into the net for Sunderland but was left looking for a place to hide as the home side equalised just five minutes later - Mannone allowing a shot from Samir Nasri to squirm out of his hands and over the line.
The Frenchman had another chance to rescue a valuable three points for City in the closing stages, only for the opportunity to pass him by. The championship now seems certain to have got away from his side too, with Chelsea and Liverpool vying for top spot.
The mood has now darkened at the Etihad Stadium but the home side had started brightly, as Fernandinho stroked the ball into the net after just one minute and 54 seconds.
Sunderland - a team which is now six points from safety - refused to be counted out, though, and Wickham drew them level after
73 minutes. The 21-year-old then forced the visitors ahead 10 minutes later, with City unable find fluency in attack. Indeed, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero were replaced by Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic midway through the second half.
It was Nasri who stepped forward to equalise, although City have now fallen behind in the title race.