Manchester City's Aguero shoots to score a penalty against Newcastle United. Picture - Reuters.

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Leaders Manchester City maintained the five point gap at the top with Man United after forcing on Newcastle their first league defeat of the season.

The match was between teams ranked first and fourth, but the contrast in quality was outstanding, wihch is credit to Newcastle for the way they've performed this season. The visitors threatened every now and then, although City would just build a surging move to leave the visitors trailing.

Newcastle were unfortunate, in that two late goals in the first half all but succumbed them to defeat. The first came from the spot, after Ryan Taylor had inadvertently handled a goal-bound shot. Mario Balotelli stepped up and calmly slotted.

Their second came just two minutes later, when Taylor was again at fault as he failed to control Samir Nasri's through ball, allowing Richards to pounce on the ball and slam home.

It was a determined Newcastle who came out, in the second half. The Magpies had their chances with Ben Arfa and Fabricio Coloccini, both coming close. However, for all their efforts, another Man City penalty, when Ben Arfa brought down RIchards in the box, sealed the result. With Balotelli substituted for David Silva, Sergio Aguero took over the penalty duties, making no mistake.

Dan Gosling scored a late consolation for Newcastle, who will feel hard done by the result after a commendable performance.