Referee Mark Halsey gifted Fulham the lead early by giving the home side a phantom penalty. John Arne Riise went down on the edge of the penalty area, apparently under a challenge by Pablo Zabaleta, but the City defender never actually made contact with him. He went down in a heap and the referee bought it. Mladen Petric stepped up and buried the penalty in the 10th minute, putting Fulham ahead.
Fulham defended well for the rest of the half and even managed a few surges forward, but City were on top and an equalizer always felt like it was coming. Just before the end of the half, Sergio Aguero found that equalizer and made it 1-1 after 42 minutes. David Silva created the chance with a shot that took a deflection, forcing Mark Schwarzer into an excellent save. Aguero was perfectly positioned, however, and poked home the rebound.
City had plenty of chances in the second half, but failed to take them. While no one was outright poor, Mario Balotelli got a number of half-chances that he probably should have done a lot better with. All of City's strikers missed solid chances throughout the game until the 87th minute, when they were bailed out by Edin Dzeko.
With four minutes remaining in regular time, Roberto Mancini decided to go all out for victory and pulled off Javi Garcia for Dzeko. That move paid off instantly, with the big center forward scoring just one minute after he entered the match. Fulham defended a ball into the box poorly, failing to clear when they should have, and the ball fell for Dzeko to finish off from close range.
It was a heartbreaking way for such a well-played match to end, and the Cottagers might feel like they deserved a point.