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Match Reports

Report: Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace

20 December 2014

Despite holding the Premier League champions for 45 minutes, the Eagles succumbed to the quality of Manchester City in the second-half as they went down 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Things were looking OK for Neil Warnock’s at the break after a fine display had kept the hosts at bay, and the natives were restless at the interval before David Silva ended the resistance with the first of two goals just three minutes after the restart.

After James McArthur had seen a goal wrongly disallowed at 2-0, Yaya Toure slammed the ball home with eight minutes to go to complete a convincing victory for the title challengers.

The goalmouth action began as early as third minute. Jesus Navas found and overlapping Pablo Zabaleta who cut the ball back to Samir Nasri who stabbed the ball wide, and then the Frenchman took aim from 20 yards but again failed to find the target.

As you would expect Palace had to be patient during the first 15 minutes and didn’t have many chances to break into their final third but a dangerous cross by Yannick Bolasie after some trickery on the left forced Joe Hart to parry the ball away.

And on 19 minutes Fraizer Campbell went close to finding the net once again in his hometown. A free-kick was lofted into the box and eventually headed back into the danger zone by Bolasie into Campbell’s path, and the former Manchester United striker went close with an acrobatic bicycle kick which flashed past the far post.

City were playing with no recognised strikers in their side and it was showing as Toure shanked a shot well over but Bolasie, who was playing in a much-more advanced role than usual, then hit a shot into the side-netting after a Brede Hangeland flick-on.

But just before half-time City should have taken the lead when an inch-perfect through-ball by Toure slipped in Zabaleta who dinked the ball over his Argentinian compatriot Julian Speroni, but the ball drifted just wide of the target.

Having seen his side play so well in the first-half, Warnock would have been disappointed to see his side concede just three minutes after the restart. Once again Toure fed Zabaleta who beat the offside trap, but instead of shooting he passed to Silva who saw his shot strike Scott Dann and loop over Speroni to give the champions the lead.

And after dominating the opening 15 minutes of the second half, Manuel Pellegrini’s side doubled their lead on the hour mark. Aleksandar Kolorov drilled a cross from the left across the box and it found Silva who deftly diverted it into the net to complete his brace.

The Spaniard had been a spectator during the opening 45 minutes but a fine display after the restart would ultimately hand his side the victory, but the Eagles were hand done by when a fine ball by Bolasie was headed past Hart by McArthur but the celebrations were thwarted by the linesman’s flag, and replays clearly showed that Scot was played onside.

Salt was further rubbed into the wound when the hosts netted a fine third after breaking away after a period of Palace pressure. Navas raced forward and fed James Milner, and he touched the ball onto Toure who hammered the ball past a helpless Speroni to put an unfair gloss on the scoreline.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Navas, Milner (Fernando 82), Silva (Lampard 69), Nasri (Sinclair 89), Toure. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Boyata, Reges, Ambrose.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Ward, Bolasie, Jedinak, Ledley (Bannan 89), McArthur, Puncheon (Thomas 84), Campbell (Zaha 67). Subs: Hennessey, Mariappa, Delaney, Gayle.

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