SOUTHAMPTON : Manchester City's long winning run in the Premier League finally came to an end as Southampton offered a glimmer of hope to City's pursuers with a deserved 1-1 at St Mary's on Saturday.
Seeking a 13th successive victory, Pep Guardiola's side were rocked early on as Kyle Walker-Peters's superb finish in the seventh minute gave Southampton a surprise lead.
Southampton were good value for their advantage and could have scored more against an unusually lacklustre City but Pep Guardiola's side eventually got into their stride and Aymeric Laporte headed them level in the 65th minute.
The visitors took charge after that with de Bruyne thumping a shot against the post but Southampton dug in for a well-deserved share of the spoils - the second time this season they have taken points off City.
City still have a commanding advantage with 57 points from 23 games to second-placed Liverpool's 45, although they have played two games more than their closest challengers.
Southampton are 12th with 25 points.
Although City appeared a little off their usual high standards, Guardiola rather surprisingly had a different view.
"We played really well. Unfortunately, in the first half we conceded a goal, but I think this was one of our best performances of the season, by far," the Spaniard said.
"They were incredibly organised and this is one of the best performances we played against them. The result was not good, but in terms of performance, it was excellent."
City will feel they should have made it 13 wins on the bounce, having dominated possession and having 20 goal attempts, but Southampton were disciplined and caused problems, especially in the first half when Armando Broja had a goal disallowed.
"It was a super fight today," manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. "It's so tough to keep them away from your goal. We fought for everything and had a few chances to score the second goal."
Southampton made the perfect start with a goal that would not have looked out of place in City's collection.
Full back Walker-Peters advanced down the right and played in Oriol Romeu and when the Spaniard returned the pass Walker-Peters dispatched a stunning finish across Ederson with the outside of his right foot for his first Premier League goal.
Guardiola looked far from happy on the touchline as City laboured and the visitors were fortunate when Broja slotted past Ederson after being played through but he was ruled offside.
Raheem Sterling wasted a glorious chance when Phil Foden's pass found him unmarked in front of goal but he fired straight at Fraser Forster.
Jan Bednarek's glancing header forced Ederson into a reflex save shortly after halftime and from another James Ward-Prowse delivery Broja nodded against the woodwork.
After that it was all about Southampton's defence against an increasingly lively City attack.
The hosts got lucky when Rodri crashed a shot against the crossbar but they switched off soon after when Laporte was left unmarked to De Bruyne's delivery past Forster.
De Bruyne curled a shot against the post and City laid siege to the Southampton goal but, for the second time this season, found Southampton a tough nut to crack.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)