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Report: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City

PUBLISHED

18:02 27th April 2014


Palace's five game winning run was ended by title challenges Manchester City who proved too strong for the Eagles to run out 2-0 winners.

With safety already ensured, the game was a good chance for Tony Pulis' men to go up against one of the league's giants without any pressure but a fourth minute Edin Dzeko header and a fine effort by Yaya Toure ended any hopes of extending the unbeaten run.

Hopes were high going into the game that another Chelsea-like performance could produce another victory but the hosts suffered a setback just three minutes in as City got their noses in front. Sergio Aguero and Toure linked up 30 yards from the Palace goal and the Ivorian was given too much time to clip a dangerous ball into the box which was met by the head of Dzeko who buried the ball past Julian Speroni.

Despite suffering such an early setback Palace began to get into their stride but their only attempt was when Jason Puncheon scuffed a shot straight at Joe Hart, while at the other end Vincent Kompany headed a Samir Nasri corner wide of the target.

But they did get their second goal a couple of minutes before the break in fine style. Toure played a one-two with Dzeko in midfield before repeating the trick with Nasri, and then shrugged off Damien Delaney before whipping the ball into the top corner from 12 yards out to hit the Eagles with a sucker-punch just before the interval.

Hart was forced into his first difficult save a couple of minutes after the restart when Puncheon took aim from just outside the box and tested the England shot-stopper who had to get down low to push the ball past his far post, and soon after Aleksandar Kolarov belted a free-kick over the top.

Twenty minutes into the half the powerhouse Toure attempted to find the top corner for a second time from long range but couldn't quite replicate his stunning goal before he was replaced and  Aguero couldn't trouble his fellow countryman Speroni when he darted inside and shot towards goal.

The chances kept going City's way and Speroni was thankful to see a deflected Dzeko blast strike him on the leg after it had wrong-footed him, but with the victory all but certain they put the handbrake on for the final half hour to protect a vital three points in the quest for a second title in three seasons.

This allowed Palace the chance to spend plenty of time in the visitor's half but they did so without dirtying Hart's gloves despite the introduction of attackers Glenn Murray, Dwight Gayle and Thomas Ince, and so drew their first blank in six matches as City move into pole position in the race for the Premier League.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie (Ince 73), Puncheon, Chamakh (Murray 69), Jerome (Gayle 69). Subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Dikgacoi.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany. Demichelis, Kolarov, Garcia, Toure (Fernandinho 66), Milner, Nasri, Aguero (Jovetic 78), Dzeko (Negredo 90). Subs not used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Clichy.