Crystal Palace vs Manchester City: Match Report

Manchester City moved within touching distance of the title thanks to second half goals by Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres in the space of just 83 seconds, as the Eagles were gradually worn down by a much-changed opposition.

City had failed to have a meaningful attempt before Aguero’s fantastic opener, but the game turned into a procession once the deadlock was broken, with Palace fortunate not to end up losing by more.

Surprisingly, the first opening of the match fell to Christian Benteke- the Benteke of Aston Villa would probably have buried his header from Andros Townsend’s cross, but this version instead flicked the ball well wide of the mark.

Benteke soon had another chance, this time on the turn from close range, but Ederson did well to smother the attacker and deflect the ball to safety, as Palace sought to exploit City with their pace on the counter.

Gabriel Jesus did have the ball in the net for City just after the half hour, but his good finish was rightly ruled offside from Fernandinho’s cross, as City went in at halftime having failed to have a single shot on target

Half time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City

The visitors were less ponderous in the early exchanges, but were still struggling to construct anything of note. That was until the 57th minute, when Aguero showed his eternal class yet again.

Benjamin Mendy found space wide on the left, and he fizzed a pass into the Argentine just inside the box. Aguero controlled, then smashed a half volley into the roof of Vincente Guaita’s net to give City a barely deserved lead.

It was a cruel blow to Palace, but it got worse virtually from kick-off as they found themselves two down. More good work by Aguero saw the ball eventually fall to Torres in the D, and the young Spaniard confidently stroked into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot.

Suddenly, City were well into their groove, and they looked like adding to their lead with every attack.

Aymeric Laporte somehow hit Cheikhou Kouyate from six yards out with a shot following a corner, before Raheem Sterling came even closer as his left foot shot cannoned off the inside of the post and out with Guaita beaten.

Another flowing move saw Joao Cancelo whip the ball narrowly over the top corner from a Torres backheel, and Sterling again could have scored as a direct run saw him curl narrowly wide of the far post.

Palace looked to Wilfred Zaha for answers, but the second half only saw Ederson catch a couple of tame efforts, with the home side never coming close to getting back into the game.

At full time, City moved to within two points of a fifth title in 10 years, and knowing a Liverpool win on Sunday at Old Trafford will confirm their coronation. Palace sit well clear of danger in 13th, but could easily end the season far lower as the teams below continue to pick up points.

Full time: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City

Man of the Match: Ferran Torres

Aguero produced his sharpest performance since his injury against Burnley last season, but Torres just edges it. His clever runs and link-up play helped stretch the Palace defence, especially throughout the final half an hour, in what was probably his best performance in a City shirt.

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