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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:03 12th September 2015


A last minute strike from Kelechi Iheanacho denied Palace a point as they fell to defeat to league leaders Manchester City at Selhurst Park.

The striker had only been on the field a minute before he was celebrating his first goal for City when he scored from close range after Alex McCarthy had saved from Samir Nasri to deny Alan Pardew’s side a credible draw.

The Eagles had more than matched their opponents during the game and had chances to get the elusive first goal but ultimately fell to their first home defeat of the campaign.

Some bright play from both sides early on matched the pleasing weather conditions that the game took place in and both goalkeepers were called into action early on. Alex McCarthy saved well from a powerful Wilfried Bony header and then dived at the feet of Nasri as he broke through the Eagles defence before seeing the chance snuffed out.

Joe Hart then had to get down low to save an angled effort from Yannick Bolasie but he was left helpless after seven minutes when Pape Souare flashed a shot wide of the far post as the left-back went close to giving his side the lead.

There was a blow for City when a foul by Scott Dann saw Sergio Aguero forced off through injury so there was an early sighting of £55 million man Kevin De Bruyne on 23 minutes, and things got a bit heated soon after when Yaya Toure put in a strong challenge on Jason Puncheon which saw Alan Pardew and Manuel Pellegrini exchange words.

Chances continued to fall for both sides and McCarthy was forced to save from Bony again when the Ivorian striker produced a neat turn inside the box and got a shot away, and then Jesus Navas fired just over after being picked out by De Bruyne. 

Towards the end of the half, Puncheon saw a vicious strike bend wickedly before arching over Hart’s goal and De Bruyne saw his first shot as a City player fail to cause McCarthy any problems despite possessing plenty of power from 25 yards out.

Five minutes into the second half Palace were given a huge let off as City squandered a glorious chance to take the lead. A swift counter-attack saw the ball find De Bruyne on the left and he played a great pass into Navas. The Spaniard raced through on goal, rounded McCarthy and looked set to score but with an open goal facing him scuffed the shot into the side netting for one of the misses of the season.

The league leaders continued to probe for an opening goal and Fernandinho was fractions away from seeing a fierce strike become his third goal of the season but it whistled over the corner of post and bar, but Palace forced Hart into a good save on 69 minutes when Souare put in a tasty ball from the left that Puncheon raced towards and bulleted a header towards goal but England’s number one managed to fly through the air and beat it to safety.

It looked as though the hosts had done enough to win a point but in the final minute they were undone. Nasri embarked on a mazy run on the fringes of the Eagles box and got off a low shot that was parried by McCarthy, and Iheanacho was quickest to get to the ball and stab it into the net from close range to score his first Premier League goal and steal the points for City.

They could have had a second in injury time but once again Toure was unable to hit the target with the goal gaping as he headed a powerful cross by Navas well wide, but Iheanacho’s goal was enough to seal the win for Pellegrini’s side.

Palace: McCarthy, Kelly, Hangeland, Dann, Souare, Cabaye, McArthur, Zaha, Puncheon (Lee 81), Sako (Gayle 66), Bolasie (Jedinak 79). Subs: Hennessey, Mariappa, Mutch, Campbell.

Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolorov, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas, Nasri (Demichellis 90), Bony (Iheanacho 89), Aguero (De Bruyne 23). Subs: Caballero, Otamendi, Garcia, Roberts.