Champions Chelsea dragged themselves away from the Barclays Premier League abyss as David Luiz and Frank Lampard struck to complete a memorable 2-1 comeback win over Manchester United.
To make matters worse for the leaders, they had skipper Nemanja Vidic sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time - meaning he will miss Sunday's trip to Liverpool.
The Blues were trailing to Wayne Rooney's fifth goal in as many league games at the break. Allowed to creep away from the Chelsea defensive line by John Terry and Luiz, Rooney collected Nani's pass with his back to goal and spun round quickly. Branislav Ivanovic recognised the danger but was powerless to do anything about it as Rooney took aim from 25 yards and beat Petr Cech with a ferocious shot.
But Chelsea levelled a thrilling encounter when Luiz volleyed home his first goal since a £25million transfer window move from Benfica.
And when Yuri Zhirkov went down under Chris Smalling's challenge in the box 12 minutes from time, Lampard strode up to extended an unbeaten home record against their visitors dating back to 2002.
More importantly, it cut United's advantage over Chelsea - who have a game in hand - to 12 points and open up the possibility of Arsenal closing to within a point if they win their outstanding game against Tottenham. The annoyance for Sir Alex Ferguson would have been that Luiz appeared fortunate not to have been sent off for tripping Rooney moments before Lampard's winner, having already been booked.