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City beat Palace to maintain title push

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City beat Palace to maintain title push

Manchester City keep up pressure on title rivals with win at Crystal Palace

Manchester City kept up the pressure on their title rivals and Kevin de Bruyne hit his 100th goal for the club in their 4-2 victory at Crystal Palace.

There had been doubts about whether or not the Belgian or Erling Haaland would be in the starting line-up for the lunchtime kick-off at Selhurst Park, where the in-form Jean-Philippe Mateta fired the hosts in front three minutes after kick-off.

De Bruyne drew the sides level moments later, and City took the lead for the first time less than two minutes after the restart via Rico Lewis’ second Premier League goal before De Bruyne set up Haaland for City’s third.

De Bruyne then added another with a solo effort to make it a century of goals for City in the 70th minute.

Palace substitute Odsonne Edouard clawed one back late on, and while Pep Guardiola’s men looked to pad what could be vital scoring statistics at the end of the season, they could not find a fifth in seven minutes of second-half stoppage time.

With safety all but secured, perhaps the more interesting proposition for Palace is now how they might affect the title chase.

Arsenal and City will be keeping their eye on the south Londoners, who travel to Liverpool next weekend.

Mateta gave the home support – as well as the Gunners and Liverpool – something to smile about with a low strike that clipped the inside of the far post before crossing over for the opener.

January signing Adam Wharton, who earned the assist, next tried setting up Eberechi Eze but overpowered the pass before City broke back and tested Dean Henderson with efforts from Julian Alvarez and Rodri, the latter calling the Palace shot-stopper into a particularly fine punch.

There was little Henderson could do to stop De Bruyne, who curled into the top right corner for a brilliant finish to draw the sides level in the 13th minute.

Palace replied with determination, enjoying another spell inside City’s final third, and the frenetic pace finally ebbed as the visitors took control and piled on the pressure.

Haaland, through on goal, forced Henderson into a save and Alvarez sent an effort wide, though it was Jordan Ayew who came closest to altering the scoreline before the break after he picked the pocket of Rodri, holding his head in his hands after watching his powerful effort clip the crossbar.

The Eagles wanted a penalty when Josko Gvardiol barged into Eze on the stroke of half-time, and while referee Paul Tierney brushed off their protests, the home support had plenty to cheer about their side’s performance in the first period.

Lewis took the wind out of their sails less than two minutes after the restart, bringing down Jack Grealish’s cross, his shot from near the penalty spot taking a slight deflection off Jefferson Lerma before going in.

More chances came City’s way, first through Alvarez then Grealish from a corner and De Bruyne before the hour mark before De Bruyne and Haaland combined for the visitors’ third.

It took just four minutes more for De Bruyne to bag his brace, drilling past Henderson to pad City’s lead in the 70th minute, after which Palace boss Oliver Glasner introduced a host of substitutes including Michael Olise, who had not played since Palace’s 4-1 loss to Brighton on February 3.

He set up fellow substitute Edouard for a golden chance, and after squandering the initial opportunity he made up for the miss when he poked past Ortega in the 86th minute.

Grealish wanted more with a late chance in second-half stoppage time but sent his effort over.

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