Manchester City blew a two-goal lead at Wolves as Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty netted late on at Molineux to secure a thrilling 3-2 home victory, with the 10-man champions' hopes of usurping runaway leaders Liverpool taking another huge blow.
City found themselves with an unlikely 2-0 lead just after half-time thanks to a Raheem Sterling brace, the lead remarkable given the 12th-minute dismissal of Ederson, but Wolves fought back spectacularly in the second half – Adama Traore playing a vital role.
Ederson's early sending off left City in a tricky position, though they initially responded well and went ahead through Sterling – the attacker tapping in a penalty rebound after Rui Patricio had saved two of his spot-kicks, the first ultimately being retaken due to encroachment.
Sterling doubled his tally with a lovely finish early in the second half and it looked as though it would be enough, but the lively Traore pulled one back before then setting up Jimenez in the latter stages following a woeful error from Benjamin Mendy.
There was still time for a stunning winner as Doherty finished off a fine move in style in the 89th minute to clinch the win, leaving City – who hit the crossbar through Sterling in stoppage time – 14 points adrift of Liverpool.
A A gripping first half looked to be going Wolves' way when Ederson was dismissed for catching Diogo Jota after rushing out of his box in the 12th minute, with Sergio Aguero's return from a month-long injury absence ending prematurely as he was hooked for replacement goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
But Riyad Mahrez was tripped by Leander Dendoncker in the opposing penalty area soon after and, following a lengthy VAR review, the spot-kick was given.
Sterling's subsequent effort was stopped by Patricio, only for VAR to penalise Wolves following encroachment from Conor Coady. The retake brought about another save, but this time the England forward converted the rebound.
City managed to reach half-time with their lead intact and Sterling got his second just after the interval, racing on to Kevin De Bruyne's throughball and beating Patricio with a clever chip.
But Sterling gave possession away a few minutes later and Traore capitalised, sending a 25-yard drive crashing in off the left-hand post.
Mendy was the next City player to make a costly error, trying to shepherd the ball out of play only to be out-muscled by Traore, who teed up Jimenez to steer home.
And Doherty completed the turnaround with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box following a clever interchange with Jimenez – Sterling's last-gasp free-kick causing a brief moment of worry as it clipped the bar.
What does it mean? City stay third as title defence receives another blow
Much has been said about Liverpool's lead at the top and how it looks unassailable. While a victory on Friday would have had a minimal impact in the grand scheme of things, a 14-point gap to the Reds does indeed look like mission impossible.
As for Wolves, they are just two points off the top four and on this form appear to be credible candidates for Champions League football, particularly given the inconsistency of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Traore unplayable when he finds his stride
A lot of the pre-match focus was on Traore due to his form, Jurgen Klopp's praise of him and the winger's history of working with Guardiola.
He was disappointing in the first half, but after the break he exploded into life and was decisive. A goal, an assist and an all-round wonderful display in the second half – he was comfortably the best player on the pitch.
Ederson takes an unnecessary gamble
By no means did Ederson need to rush out of his penalty area when Jota was charging through.
The attacker is not especially fast and City defenders were tracking, but the goalkeeper's rush of blood put the visitors in a tense position. In the end, it looks a costly mistake.
Key Opta Facts
- Wolves have won more points from losing positions than any other side in the Premier League this season (14).
- Manchester City had just 37.8 per cent possession – the lowest figure recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in top-flight history.
- City lost a Premier League game having led by two or more goals for the first time since April 2018 versus Manchester United.
- Wolves completed their first league double over City for the first time since 1999-00 in the second tier, and for the first time in the top flight since 1960-61.
- Wolves are just the second team to complete a league double against a team managed by Guardiola after Antonio Conte's Chelsea in 2016-17.
It does not get any easier for Wolves as they face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, while City host Sheffield United the same day.