Manchester City missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea after surrendering a 2-0 lead against lowly Burnley.
Manuel Pellegrini's side went in to half time looking likely to make it ten consecutive wins in all competitions, only for Burnley to fight back and claim an impressive point.
City could have moved to within one point of Premier League leaders Chelsea, who earlier in the day drew at Southampton, but were left ruing a missed chance.
City once again started with James Milner as a makeshift forward and it was fellow midfielder David Silva who opened the scoring, netting his fourth goal in three games.
Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho put City 2-0 before second half goals from George Boyd and Ashley Barnes left Pellegrini reeling.
The City manager said: "I can explain, of course I can explain. Football has a lot of things that decide the score. We played well in the first half, we were 2-0 up.
"In the first minutes of the second half Burnley score a clear offside goal. After that they scored they second from a rebound."
Despite feeling Burnley's first goal should not have stood, Pellegrini refused to put the draw down to bad luck.
"I am not saying we are unfortunate. I don’t say that. I am saying in football, just two balls can decide the score. I think we play very well in the first half," he said.
"In the second half when they score, they grow and we couldn’t keep (the lead) because it is a brave team they are always going forward and they score the second goal.
City's draw with Burnley came just two days after a hard-fought victory in snowy conditions at West Brom.
Pellegrini pointed to the quick turnaround, saying: “It is difficult for all the teams, especially our team because we play on a very heavy pitch against West Bromwich in the last game, to keep the same pace in the second half.”
"It is clear we couldn’t keep the same intensity in the second half because the first goal was very important for them because they improve a lot and have a lot of trust."
Chelsea's lunchtime draw with Saints meant City knew a tenth consecutive victory in all competitions would take them level on points at the top of the Premier League.
Pellegrini again opted to keep Stevan Jovetic on the bench, giving Milner another run out as a false number nine.
The experiment had worked in victories over Crystal Palace and Leicester, and looked to be working against Burnley as they raced into a two goal half time lead.
David Silva has been the star man in recent the striker-less run and he was again on the scoresheet after collecting a Jesus Navas pass before finishing past Tom Heaton.
With Yaya Toure missing from the starting line-up Brazilian Fernandinho had come in to the side and it was he who grabbed the second, curling home after good work by Samir Nasri.
All in the Etihad probably thought the game was over, but Burnley manager Sean Dyche and his players had other ideas.
With the second half just minutes old Boyd got a touch on a Danny Ings shot to divert it past a helpless Joe Hart.
The City goalkeeper was left furious with the officials, convinced Boyd had been in an offside position, and replays showed he was right although the goal stood.
Both teams had second half chances and although Jovetic and Frank Lampard were introduced by the home side, eventually it was the underdogs who would strike again.
Barnes found himself on the end of a long free-kick to lash past Hart to the delight of the traveling fans, and no doubt the large contingent of Chelsea fans making their way back from the South Coast.
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