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Match Reports

Match Report : 28/01/2017

28 January 2017

Palace’s interest in the FA Cup ended at the fourth round stage after goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Yaya Toure saw Pep Guardiola’s men advance in the competition.

A much-changed Eagles side more than comfortably held City at bay until a couple of minutes before the break when Sterling slipped through and scored, and then Sane added a second midway through the second half to clinch the victory.

Toure then fired home a free-kick in injury-time to score his sixth goal in his last seven appearances against the Eagles to complete the scoring as the visitors cruised through to round five.

City controlled much of the opening exchanges and nearly took the lead after nine minutes. A scooped pass by Toure allowed David Silva to slip in behind the defence but Wayne Hennessey managed to come out and get in the way of his first-time attempt, and after that the Spaniard saw a header go well wide when well-placed.

Palace gradually grew into the game though and there was a controversial moment on 30 minutes, when having been booked a couple of minutes earlier, Toure brought down Jordon Mutch in full flight but wasn’t shown a second yellow. From the resulting free-kick, the Eagles had their first sight of goal when Andros Townsend’s delivery was flicked on by Mutch, but Christian Benteke couldn’t keep his header down and the chance flew over.

That seemed to lift the hosts and soon after another delivery caused problems as Mutch saw a scuffed volley deflect into the path of James Tomkins, but he couldn’t get enough on his shot on the turn and Willy Caballero managed to parry it away, but with a couple of minutes until half-time, City managed to take the lead in clinical fashion.

Making his first start for the club, Gabriel Jesus played an incisive pass from the halfway line through the defence that allowed Sterling to race through, and he coolly slotted the ball under Hennessey to hand Guardiola’s men the lead.

They nearly went into the interval two ahead when a swift attack saw Sane, Silva, Sterling and Jesus all link up from the left flank into the area to create a chance for the Brazilian but Hennessey did well to get something in the way of it and deflect it away for a corner, and Fabian Delph saw a shot from range diverted just wide as the visitors ended the first 45 minutes well on top.

After the break Palace had a couple of good chances to level things up in the first five minutes of the half. Firstly, Chung-yong Lee headed straight at Caballero, before half-time introduction Loic Remy acrobatically volleyed over when the net should have been bulging.

Back came City and Sterling nearly added a second when he cheekily backheeled a loose ball goalwards but it flashed fractions wide, and then Hennessey just managed to push away a grasscutter by Delph from just outside the box.

The heavens then opened and a heavy downpour, which turned to hail, engulfed proceedings, but trying to make use of the slick pitch Joe Ledley went close with a low drive from 25 yards out, however on 70 minutes the game was as good as over when City doubled their lead.

A swift counter-attack allowed Silva to carry the ball 50 yards and time his pass to Sane perfectly, and he managed to tuck the ball into the bottom corner and virtually end the Eagles’ time in the competition this season.

Ledley attempted to change that as he headed just wide a couple of minutes after that setback, but the afternoon went from bad to worse as Jeffrey Schlupp limped off with a tweaked hamstring with 15 minutes to go, and it could have easily been 3-0 when Jesus raced through on goal, rounded Hennessey but slipped on the greasy surface when he went to pull the trigger.

But in injury-time, Toure got his customary goal against the Eagles when they won a free-kick 25 yards from goal, and he stepped up to curl and unstoppable shot into the top corner out of the reach of Hennessey and put the full stop on Palace’s dreams of a second consecutive cup final appearance.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Kelly, Schlupp (Fryers 75), Lee, Mutch (McArthur 66), Flamini, Ledley, Townsend, C. Benteke (Remy 46). Subs not used: Perntreou, Delaney, Cabaye, Kaikai.

City: Caballero, Sagna, Kompany, Kolorov, Clichy, Delph, Toure, Sterling (Navas 67), Silva (Fernando 78), Sane (Nolito 83), Jesus. Subs not used: Bravo, Zabaleta, Stones, De Bruyne.

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