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Manchester City 3–0 Crystal Palace: Eagles furious as McArthur header wrongly ruled out


CRYSTAL Palace were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City this afternoon but it could have been a different outcome had James McArthur's headed goal counted.

With the hosts leading 2-0, the Scottish midfielder found the back of the net only to see the assistant referee's flag raised despite being a good two yards onside.

City's Fernandinho was closest to the assistant on the near side running back when Bolasie fired in a delivery for McArthur.

Palace had matched the home side well in the first period but a strong start to the second half saw David Silva notch twice.

Yaya Toure rubbed salt into the wounds following the McArthur decision, blasting home after a counter-attack.

Samir Nasri shot wide early on from Pablo Zabaleta's cut back from the byline, while Jason Puncheon had an effort charged down on the edge of the box.

City had the better of the possession, as expected, but they couldn't finish off a patient move after nine minutes when Fernandinho curled an effort over from outside the box.

A clever free-kick from the hosts nearly caught Palace out, but thankfully Nasri shot wide.

However, it was the Eagles who had the best chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes through Fraizer Campbell.

A free-kick sent in to the back post found Mile Jedinak, who headed back into the mixer. City failed to clear, and Bolasie headed to an unmarked Campbell, who sent a spectacular scissor kick just wide of the far post.

That seemed to wake Manuel Pellegrini's men up, with Yaya Toure placing over, before David Silva had a couple of chances to himself. Toure had another effort go over from close range after further good build-up as City's pressure mounted.

With no recognised striker available, it was clearly evident to see at this stage.

Campbell then latched onto a through-pass, and despite rounding Hart, the forward just couldn't keep the ball in play despite his best efforts to revive the chance.

Bolasie went close again when he volleyed against the side netting after Brede Hangeland's flick-on in the box. And then a great counter nearly ended up with Campbell having a shot but he was stopped in his tracks by two defenders.

Pellegrini's side went close shortly before the break when Zabaleta ran on to a superb pass, and lifted the ball over the onrushing Speroni but the ball went inches wide.

Palace could be happy with the first half, though, having had chances themselves.

Into the second half and Palace were dealt an early blow when City took the lead through Silva's deflected strike from inside the box.

The hosts threatened for another soon after, with Toure blasting over from the edge of the box before James Milner's goal-bound effort was blocked by Scott Dann.

However, they did get a second just past the hour-mark through Silva again. Aleksandar Kolarov delivered from the left and the Spanish international swept home from close range to beat Speroni.

The Eagles thought they were back in the game after 70 minutes when James McArthur nodded in Bolasie's cross from the right, but the assistant referee had raised his flag.

But in fact, the midfielder was onside when the ball was played, with Fernandinho playing him on by at least two yards.

To make matters worse, City made the game safe with a third on the counter. Jesus Navas stormed through the middle and fed Milner, who in turn found the onrushing Toure, who blasted home in off the post.

Neil Warnock sent Jerome Thomas and Barry Bannan on to get a few minutes but it was too late in the game.

Three minutes were added on by referee Dowd, while the Palace fans urged their players to shoot.

Bolasie went for the spectacular with the final chance of the match, sending a scissor kick over the bar following a corner.

Next up for the Eagles is a home match against Southampton on Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas.

Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Ward, Dann, Hangeland, McArthur, Ledley (Bannan 90), Jedinak ©, Bolasie, Puncheon (Thomas 84), Campbell (Zaha 67).

Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Mariappa, Delaney, Gayle.

Attendance: 45,302

Referee: Phil Dowd

Report by Mark Ritson, at the Etihad Stadium

Manchester City 3–0 Crystal Palace: Eagles furious as McArthur header wrongly ruled out

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