London: Chelsea inflicted a first league defeat of the season on Premier League leaders Manchester City after substitute Frank Lampard secured a 2-1 victory from the penalty spot at Stamford Bridge here on Monday.
Lampard's 83rd minute effort completed a comeback that began when Raul Meireles cancelled out Mario Balotelli's second minute opener and revived the Londoners' title hopes.
Victory moved Chelsea up to third, seven points adrift of City, who were reduced to 10 men following the 58th minute dismissal of Gael Clichy.
The win was Chelsea's third in succession during a nine-day period in which Andre Villas-Boas's side have also secured a place in the knock-out stages of the Champions League to ease the growing pressure on their young manager.
But for City, knocked out of the Champions League, they passed up the chance to move five points clear of second placed reigning champions Manchester United.
Lampard, who'd missed his two previous penalties, said: "Some of the football they (City) played showed we needed to win to stay in the title race.
"Ten points is a big gap and luckily we've closed that.
"You've got to be big enough to stand up and take them (penalties) and I was very relieved when it hit the back of the net."
Portuguese boss Villas-Boas added: "Our objective was to shorten our distance to the leaders and we did exactly that. We take no extra flavour for being the first team to beat Man City. But now the title race is very much alive."
Meanwhile City manager Roberto Mancini was left to reflect on two decisions by referee Mark Clattenburg which he felt altered the course of the match.
"The game changed with the sending off and in the first half," said the Italian. "The referee was very sure in the second half when (Daniel Sturridge) shoots and Joleon Lescott is five metres away (for the penalty).
"But in the first half he was also three metres away when David Silva was brought down," the Italian added.
"I hope we can do another 14 games without losing."
The match started brightly enough for the visitors with Balotelli shrugging off his latest controversy -- he was photographed in a restaurant 48 hours previously in breach of a club curfew -- to fire them into an early lead.
Sergio Aguero turned John Terry and sent Balotelli free on goal, with the Italian striker rounded Petr Cech and then calmly rolling the ball into the net.
However, the Italian still had plenty to do after being allowed to advance between Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa but he kept his composure to round keeper Petr Cech and roll the ball into the net.
City might have been in complete command had Clattenburg awarded a penalty when Bosingwa appeared to trip Silva in the 14th minute.
But Chelsea, on a wet and windy night, worked their way back into the match and were rewarded in the 34th minute when Meireles levelled after good work by former City prospect Daniel Sturridge.
Blues captain Terry found Sturridge, Chelsea's man-of-the-match, with a fine crossfield ball and the forward turned Clichy inside out before picking out Meireles, who volleyed past Joe Hart from 12 yards.
City suddenly appeared much less composed and Vincent Kompany's clumsy bodycheck on Didier Drogba brought a yellow card.
And the shift in the balance of the game grew even more pronounced in the 58th minute when Clichy -- booked 10 minutes earlier for a foul on Sturridge -- upended Ramires to earn a second yellow card that saw him sent off.
Mancini declared his intention to settle for a point by withdrawing Aguero and Silva.
But the plan to shore up his midfield and defence backfired when Sturridge again worked an opening on the right hand side of the box, cutting inside and firing a left foot shot that was blocked by Lescott's arm.
And Lampard, 10 minutes after coming off the bench, fired past Hart to complete the turnaround.