Manchester City missed the chance to consolidate their top four position by being held 1-1 at home by Fulham who are slowly pulling away from the wrong end of the table. City went into this game having won their last seven home games whilst Fulham have the best defensive record of the New Year.
The Cottagers are managed by former City boss Mark Hughes who will be pleased with the point gained after being thrashed 4-1 at Craven Cottage earlier in the campaign.
But these days Fulham are made of sterner stuff even if they have only won once away from home in 31 starts but have battled out of the bottom three were they found themselves on New Years Day.
Certainly the boos from the City faithful at the final whistle gave that impression and there seemed to be some incident between Hughes and counterpart Roberto Mancini after their handshake at full time.
Referee: Peter Walton
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Attendance: 43,077
Man City scorers: Balotelli 26 Fulham scorers: Duff 48
MAN CITY 25 Hart 05 Zabaleta 13 Kolarov (Milner 77) 17 Boateng 19 Lescott 28 K Toure 18 Barry 42 Y Toure 10 Dzeko (Vieira 60) 32 Tevez 45 Balotelli (yellow card)
Substitutes 12 Taylor, 57 Wabara, 07 Milner, 08 Wright-Phillips, 24 Vieira, 27 Jo, 60 Guidetti
FULHAM 01 Schwarzer 03 Salcido 05 Hangeland 06 Baird 18 Hughes 13 Murphy (yellow card) 16 Duff 20 Etuhu 23 Dempsey 08 Johnson (yellow card) (Gudjohnsen 79) 30 Dembele
Substitutes 12 Stockdale, 02 Kelly, 11 Gera, 27 Greening, 29 Davies, 22 Gudjohnsen, 24 Kakuta