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January 31, 2015

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City ended Chelsea's perfect home record in the Premier League this season with a 1-1 draw between the top two teams on Saturday.

Loic Remy, deputizing for suspended striker Diego Costa, put Chelsea in front in the 41st minute, but the leaders couldn't hold on for an 11th successive league win at Stamford Bridge.

David Silva quickly leveled for City before halftime after turning in Sergio Aguero's shot. Although the defending champions were in complete control in the second half, they couldn't break through the defensive-minded hosts.

After a third league game without a win, City remains five points behind Chelsea. Although there are still 45 points to play for, this was being portrayed as a decisive day in the title race.

A league-record 26 broadcast crews from across the globe descended on the stadium to witness a fast-paced opening from two teams humiliated last weekend by lower-league clubs in the FA Cup.

But it was a game littered with mistakes, and not the greatest exhibition of quality from the world's top football league. What a different outcome it might have been for Chelsea if midfielder Cesc Fabregas was fit and Diego Costa had not been suspended for three matches for a stamp in Tuesday's League Cup semifinal win over Liverpool.

The reaction to Costa's stamps infuriated Mourinho, who attacked the media's coverage, having also turned his fury on referees in recent weeks. If Mourinho wanted to sustain the siege mentality he has built around Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, it seemed to work. Even some fans were chanting abuse about a television pundit during the game, but the team wasn't as animated on the pitch.

When Branislav Ivanovic gave the ball away, James Milner seized possession and fed Sergio Aguero, whose shot was batted away

And Chelsea captain John Terry was caught out when a deep ball flew over his head to Aguero, who eventually skimmed a shot past the post from a tight angle.

But the hosts went in front when Ivanovic picked out Eden Hazard, who volleyed low across the face of goal. The ball went past City defender Vincent Kompany and was perfectly placed for Remy to stab into the net.

City wasn't intimidated, producing an instant response after Nemanja Matic gave the ball away inside his own half. It led to Jesus Navas whipping in a cross from the left flank which goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois flapped at as he tried to punch it clear. The ball fell to Aguero whose shot was turned in by Silva.

In the second half, Chelsea seemed to settle for a draw.

Courtois, though, had only one save of note to make, tipping over Fernandinho's awkwardly bouncing header.

In the reserve fixture, Frank Lampard grabbed an equalizer for City. But on his return to Chelsea on Saturday, the second-half substitute didn't inflict further misery on the club the midfielder left after 13 years in May.

Initially booed by some Chelsea fans when he came off the bench wearing the light blue of City, he was eventually cheered. It was a rare moment of bonhomie during a game where the vitriol exceeded the quality on show.

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