Manchester City dropped their first Premier League points of the campaign after squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Fulham.
Roberto Mancini's side appeared on course for victory when Sergio Aguero struck twice inside 46 minutes to take his personal tally to eight goals in his first five Premier League appearances. But Fulham staged a stirring fightback to recover through goals from Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy.
The draw meant City missed the chance to exert maximum pressure on neighbours Manchester United, who started the day level on points with Mancini's side at the head of the table.
Fulham, meanwhile, claimed their third point of the season thanks to a performance that gave hope to new manager Martin Jol after a difficult start. The Cottagers were spurred by the added incentive of attempting to haul themselves off the foot of the Premier League table following yesterday's results.
But after a positive start, Jol's side quickly found themselves pushed back as City shook off the disappointment of their midweek draw against Napoli in the UEFA Champions League and took control of the game.
Mancini's team has carried a familiar look during the opening weeks of the season and the manager once again left Carlos Tevez on the bench and placed his faith in the attacking quartet of Aguero, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and David Silva.
Aguero at the double
And once the City forwards clicked into gear, Fulham's defenders found themselves continually stretched to near breaking point. They were ahead after 18 minutes when Silva turned provider and Aguero provided the first example of the finishing that has already established him as one of the league's outstanding strikers.
Gareth Barry played the ball into Silva's feet and the former Valencia man picked out Aguero, who had moved into space just inside the Fulham area and finished easily past Mark Schwarzer to put City in control.
From that point Fulham struggled vainly to gain a foothold in the first half. Yet for all City's dominance, Mancini's side created little in the way of clear opportunities and when they did, found Schwarzer to be in impressive form.
He produced an outstanding reaction save to tip Dzeko's first-time shot over the bar after Silva had set up his team-mate with a well weighted pull-back. Having restricted City to just one goal, Fulham had every right to believe they could force their way back into the game despite having been outplayed.
Hope of a recovery seemed to disappear, however, when City doubled their lead within 12 seconds of the restart. From the kick-off, Silva rolled the ball back to Clichy whose long ball forward was nodded down by Dzeko into the path of Aguero, who finished from 20 yards.
Zamora, Murphy on target
Game over, or so City thought. Fulham had other ideas and, with little to lose, finally took the game to City, clawing a goal back through an excellent 55th-minute strike from Zamora.
Inspired, Jol's side pressed for an equaliser and it took a desperate tackle from Micah Richards to deny Clint Dempsey before City goalkeeper Joe Hart was forced to save from Moussa Dembele and then a Dempsey header. But Jol's side did not have long to wait before completing a stirring recovery, with captain Murphy's deflected shot finding a way past Hart in the 75th minute.