LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City’s fingertip hold on their Premier League title was loosened further after a demoralising 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday left them hoping for a footballing miracle.
Leon Osman’s swerving 32nd-minute shot put Everton in front at Goodison Park and even though the home team were reduced to 10 men when Steven Pienaar was red-carded after 61 minutes, City could not reply.
Substitute Nikica Jelavic sealed victory on the counter attack deep into stoppage time to leave City staring at a 15-point deficit to Manchester United if the runaway leaders beat second from bottom Reading later on Saturday.
One week after being booed and heckled by their fans in a 3-0 FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic, Everton produced a gutsy performance to remain in contention for a top-four finish.
Everton briefly went above Arsenal into fifth spot but the Gunners responded with a 2-0 victory at mid-table Swansea City to close within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea who play West Ham United on Sunday.
Liverpool were beaten 3-1 at Southampton, virtually extinguishing their top-four hopes while handing the Saints a major boost in their bid to steer clear of relegation trouble.
Queens Park Rangers’ revival was brought to an end with a 3-2 defeat in a relegation battle at Aston Villa – a result that left Harry Redknapp’s side seven points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Villa with eight games remaining.
Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion drew 0-0.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Tom Pilcher)
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