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Chelsea hands City first loss of the season

Manchester City is unbeaten no more in the 1, at Stamford Bridge.

It looked as if Manchester City would cruise to a comfortable victory after Mario Balotelli scored in the second minute, but Chelsea responded with and equalizer from Raul Meireles in the 34th minute and a Frank Lampard penalty kick in the 82nd minute.

The enigma that is Mario Balotelli helped City claim an early lead, as the Italian striker exploited space in behind the Chelsea defense to latch onto a through ball before side-stepping goalkeeper Petr Cech and slotting a shot into the empty net.

Chelsea was slow out of the gate and City's fluent passing game was in full effect early on, keeping the Stamford Bridge faithful on edge.

But the Blues eventually conjured an equalizer as Daniel Sturridge slipped past a defender in the box and centered the ball to find Meireles, who redirected his effort past Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The match really turned in Chelsea's favor in the 58th minute when Gael Clichy was shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders.

After applying additional pressure throughout the second half, Chelsea was eventually shown the fruits of its labor as the referee awarded a penalty kick for the Blues. Sturridge had curled a shot toward goal, but it was batted down by the arms of Joleon Lescott.

Lampard, a second-half substitute, stepped up and converted the penalty kick to put City to the sword.

The win powers Chelsea into third place in Premier League table, tied on 31 points with Tottenham but just ahead on goal differential. Spurs also have a game in hand.

Manchester City still remains at the summit of England's top flight, but its cushion at the top dwindles to just two points. City, on 38 points, leads rivals Manchester United who sit second with 36 points.