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With Manchester United now able to go five points clear at the top of the table with a victory over Blackburn on Monday, is the challenge by Roberto Mancini's men now over?

Was 16:54 on March 31 the time and date that Manchester City’s bid for the Premier League title ended?

With rivals Manchester United holding a three-point lead over Roberto Mancini’s men and not playing until Monday, City had the chance to go level, albeit possibly only temporarily, with a victory over Sunderland.

However, it was not to quite that easy.

Going in 2-1 down at half-time, the first time all season City have trailed at the break, matters worsened just 10 minutes later when Sebastian Larsson extended the away side’s lead.

However, time for the ‘hallmark of champions’ cliché to be rolled out as first Mario Balotelli added his second of the game with five minutes remaining before Aleksandar Kolarov levelled matters less than sixty seconds later.

Despite the late dramatics, it is still two points dropped and the end of City’s record-breaking run of 20 home games wins in a row.

So, the lay of the land now means that if United can travel to Ewood Park and beat Blackburn they will go a five points clear at the top with seven games left to play.

Both sides meet in four weeks’ time at the Eithad Stadium in a Manchester derby whose importance is heightened as it edges ever closer.

Poll of the day

Has Manchester City's draw against Sunderland ensured United will be crowned Premier League champions?

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