Manchester City produced a dramatic comeback to rescue a point with a 3-3 draw with Sunderland at the Etihad that reduced their arrears to two points on Premier League leaders Manchester United
City were 3-1 down going into the last five minutes before goals from Mario Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov salvaged a draw after they had been largely outplayed by an excellent Sunderland.
The home side started with Balotelli playing behind Edin Dzeko in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero, with Carlos Tevez again on the bench.
But it was Sunderland's attack that deserves all the plaudits as they took apart a suspect City defense on a number of occasions, with two goals from Sebastian Larsson and another courtesy of Nicklas Bendtner. Earlier Balotelli had brought the home side back into the game at 1-1 with a penalty.
The opening goal arrived just past the half-hour point, with Sessegnon, as he was all afternoon, heavily involved. After some neat play down the left the Benin international came inside and laid a ball to Sebastian Larsson on the edge of the D.
Incredibly no City player attempted to close the Swede down and Larsson took a touch before curling a low shot into the bottom right corner of the net with Joe Hart unmoved.
But it looked as though City were going to be able to get a grip on the game when they were awarded a penalty just before the break. Edin Dzeko attempted to step inside Craig Gardener inside the area, but the Bosnian fell under the barely outstretched leg of the Sunderland midfielder and referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot.
Despite the furious Sunderland protests, the referee arguably made the correct decision, no matter how soft a penalty it was.
With his trademark stutter-step Balotelli ambled forward and with all the confidence in the world stuck it to Simon Mignolet's left, who dove the other way.
But for a side fighting for the title, City showed poor concentration and allowed Sunderland to regain their advantage deep into first-half stoppage time.
After a quick free-kick down the right, Sessegnon surged to the edge of the penalty area before curling a delightful cross to the back post. There waiting was the tall frame of Nicklas Bendtner who rose comfortably above Micah Richards and placed a trademark header back into the opposite corner of the net.
And the game seemed up for City when they fell further behind to the pick of the game's goals after 55 minutes. A quick break from Sunderland saw Sessegnon play the perfect ball through to Bendtner in space down the right. The Dane took the ball on before laying it square across goal for Larsson to grab his second of the match with a simple side-foot finish at the far post.
It was the archetypal counter attacking goal from Sunderland, but once again city's players seemed stunted in their efforts to stop the away side's forward progress.
Mario Balotelli, who had cut a forlorn figure and got into a confrontation with his team mates over his insistence on taking a free kick, gave the title0chasers hope of a comeback with a strike out of nothing five minutes from time. The Italian cut inside form the left and unleashed an unstoppable curling effort into the top corner to illustrate just what the controversial striker is capable of.
And incredibly the home side dragged themselves level with their second goal in the space of just over a minute. Left-back Kolarov fired a trademark low left-footed drive from 20-plus meters out to tie up the score at 3-3.
City piled on the pressure looking to get all three points in the closing minutes but it was not to be. And after City seemed to be comprehensively outplayed for much of the match they must surely take a point, which could yet be be crucial in this tight title race.