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Monday, March 1, 2010

City ends Chelsea's unbeaten run

LONDON (AP) Chelsea had two players sent off as Manchester City ended the Premier League leader's 38-match unbeaten home run by winning 4-2 on Saturday.

Julian Belletti and Michael Ballack both saw red as Chelsea missed a chance to extend its one-point lead over defending champion Manchester United with 10 matches to go.

After Frank Lampard fired Chelsea ahead, Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy each scored twice for City. Lampard scored another in the 90th minute from the penalty spot, but it couldn't prevent Chelsea losing for the first time in all competitions at Stamford Bridge since going down to Arsenal in November 2008.

Third-place Arsenal closed the gap on Chelsea to three points by rallying to beat 10-man Stoke 3-1 in Saturday's late match. But Aaron Ramsey is set to be out for the long term after a tackle from Ryan Shawcross resulted in the Stoke defender's dismissal and left the Arsenal midfielder possibly facing surgery.

"I'm very proud and, of course, very sad because of what happened," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "We don't know how long he will be out but it's certainly long term."

Also Saturday, bottom-place Portsmouth beat Burnley 2-1 one day after being the first Premier League club to be forced to seek bankruptcy protection. Bolton climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton and Birmingham kept its European hopes alive by beating Wigan by the same score.

All the intrigue Saturday was focused on the clash of the league's two wealthiest clubs — Chelsea and Man City — and the ill-feeling between Wayne Bridge and Chelsea captain John Terry.

They came face to face for the first time since allegations surfaced about an affair between Terry and the mother of his former Chelsea teammate's son. In the pre-match fair play formalities, Bridge refused to shake hands with Terry, who was stripped of the England captaincy as a result of his affair.

For Bridge, ensuring City finishes in the top four and qualifies for the Champions League became the priority after the left back announced his international retirement on Thursday, saying his position in the England team was "untenable."

By completing its first league double over Chelsea since 1957 to relieve the pressure on manager Roberto Mancini, City moved to fourth, three points ahead of Tottenham.

"It was not a good day," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "The only good thing from today is that we still have one point more than Manchester United. We have more chance to win the title than either them or Arsenal because that is what the table says."

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