Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes faltered once more as the champions twice blew a lead to draw 2-2 at Newcastle on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s men were frustrated for long spells after Jetro Willems quickly cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s first-half opener, but seemed to have found the moment of magic they needed thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s sensational strike eight minutes from time.
However, City’s defensive flaws were soon exposed once more as Jonjo Shelvey swept home a well-worked free-kick six minutes later.
City has now dropped points in five of their 14 league games this season and could end the day 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Guardiola was without Sergio Aguero who has been ruled out for a couple of weeks by a thigh muscle injury and City missed his predatory instincts as they failed to make nearly 80 percent possession count.
Sterling has usurped Aguero so far this season as City’s major source of goals and was clinical 22 minutes in after a lovely backheel from David Silva set the England international up for his 15th goal of the season.
However, the lead lasted just three minutes as the normally goal-shy Magpies produced their own moment of quality when Miguel Almiron teed up Willems to slot past Ederson into the far corner.
When City lost on their last visit to St James’ Park back in January the title seemed lost, only for a 14-game winning streak to end the campaign to pip Liverpool to the post.
The Reds’ relentless form at the top of the table meant City started the day nine points behind and with precious little margin for error even before November is out.