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Crystal Palace 0–2 Manchester City: Eagles downed by Yaya Toure goal and assist

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By Mark Ritson at Selhurst Park CRYSTAL Palace were on the end of 2-0 defeat to Premier League title-chasers Manchester City this afternoon. The Eagles were on the backfoot early on thanks to Edin Dzeko's opener, and the big spenders continued to dominate before Yaya Toure doubled their lead on his return from injury. Tony Pulis had already guided the south Londoners to safety so the defeat would not have hurt the natives too much, but their heart and desire was there to see against a top side. Inside a carnival atmosphere in SE25, Yannick Bolasie got the better of Vincent Kompany early on but overcooked his delivery on the left. Sergio Aguero was nearly on the end of a long ball from Kompany a minute later but couldn't make a connection. However, Manuel Pellegrini's men were soon ahead thanks to Edin Dzeko. The striker rose superbly to plant a header past Julian Speroni from Yaya Toure's pinpoint delivery to give the visitors a dream start. It was very nearly number two when Aguero looked to round Speroni on the left side of the box but the custodian did well to stop the pull-back. City certainly looked up for it but Palace stood up and Bolasie did brilliantly to beat Pablo Zabaleta and fire in a dangerous cross, only for Kompany to hack clear. The Eagles upped the ante with a couple decent combinations down the right, before Cameron Jerome went down under a challenge from Kompany outside the box but referee Howard Webb waved away the striker's appeal. Jason Puncheon dragged a shot from outside the box which Joe Hart got down to easily, while at the other end City had a couple of a great chances to double their lead. Toure lifted the ball over the Palace defence to the onrushing Zabaleta, who headed across goal for a team-mate only for Scott Dann to clear for a corner. And from the set-play, Kompany rose to head just wide at the near post. City appealed for a penalty when Toure's goal-bound shot was blocked superbly by Damien Delaney, and from watching the television replays, the ball did strike the defender's elbow but only in protecting his chest. City continued to dominate possession heading into the break, but Palace's defence stayed strong. But that defensive unit was broken again on 43 minutes when Toure doubled City's lead. The midfielder ran onto a ball forward, and despite the valiant attempts of Delaney getting back, Toure composed himself before curling into the top corner past a stranded Speroni. Into the second half and Puncheon conjured up the first opportunity with a testing low shot for Hart, who did well to palm it away for a corner. Puncheon did well to spot Jerome in a good position after Martin Demichelis lost possession on the left, but the striker was then flagged offside. Demichelis nearly made up for his error when he glanced Samir Nasri's header over the bar from a corner. Maroaune Chamakh livened up the home faithful on the hour when he picked the ball up inside his own half before running through the middle of the park past three City defenders. He picked out Jerome on the left, who won a corner, and from the set-piece, the ball was fed short to Bolasie but his delivery was too deep and it went out for a goal kick. Tony Pulis brought on for Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray for Chamakh and Jerome, then minutes later Tom Ince came on for Bolasie. And Ince went looking for a penalty following a quickly-taken free-kick but Webb waved away appeals firmly. City looked to wrap the three points up when Kolarov's excellent cross evaded Aguro inside the box, before the striker was substituted for Stevan Jovetic. The game began to peter out in the last ten minutes as Palace began running out of ideas against a comfortable City side gunning for the Premier League title. Three minutes were added on at the end of the 90 minutes, but the 2-0 scoreline was the way it stayed - and for City, they are back in the title race indeed following Liverpool's defeat to Chelsea. Next up for Palace is Liverpool at home next Monday. Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie (Ince 73), Puncheon, Chamakh (Gayle ), Jerome (Murray 69). Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Dikgacoi. Referee: Howard Webb

Crystal Palace 0–2 Manchester City: Eagles downed by Yaya Toure goal and assist


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