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Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace: Andros Townsend scores wonder goal from 35-yard volley sees Pep Guardiola’s men fail to close the gap to Liverpool at Christmas

Crystal Palace scored three goals in 18 minutes to cause a major shock at The Etihad Stadium and make it advantage Liverpool in this season’s title race.

After Pep Guardiola’s side had taken an early lead through Ilkay Gundogan, struggling Palace hit back with goals by Jeffrey Schlupp and a stunning Andros Townsend effort before half-time, added to by a penalty after 51 minutes from skipper Luka Milivojevic.

Man City pegged a late goal back by Kevin De Bruyne but couldn’t force the equaliser to end their 100 per cent home league record this season. 

MATCH FACTS AND STATS

MAN CITY: (4-3-3) Ederson 6; Walker 5, Otamendi 6 (Aguero 50 6), Laporte 7, Delph 6.5 (De Bruyne 62 6.5); Gundogan 6.5, Stones 5, B Silva 5; Sterling 6 (Mahrez 69 5.5), Jesus 5.5, Sane 6.5

SUBS NOT USED: Muric (GK); Danilo, Zinchenko, Foden

GOALS: Gundogan (27), De Bruyne (85)

BOOKINGS: None

COACH: Pep Guardiola 6

CRYSTAL PALACE: (4-3-2-1) Guaita 7; Wan-Bissaka 6, Tomkins 7, Sakho 7.5, van Aanholt 6.5; Milivojevic 7.5; Townsend 7, McArthur 6.5, Meyer 8(Puncheon 90), Schlupp 6.5; Zaha 7(Ayew 88)

SUBS NOT USED: Speroni (GK); Ward, Dann, Riedewald, Sorloth

GOALS: Schlupp (33), Townsend (36), Milivojevic (PEN 51)

BOOKINGS: Zaha (45), Van Aanholt (75), McArthur (80)

COACH: Roy Hodgson 7

REFEREE: Andre Marriner 7

MAN OF THE MATCH: Max Meyer

VENUE: Etihad Stadium.

It was Guardiola’s first home defeat to any club outside the Big Six since he came to England in 2016 and more importantly to him leaves the champons four points behind Liverpool at the top.

Their clash at The Etihad on January 3 now takes on even greater significance.

The first clue that everything might not go City’s way came when John Stones, given a rare outing in midfield, attempted a risky dribble that saw him robbed by Luka Milivojevic to set up a Palace counter.

City got away with that and after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guiata had saved brilliantly from Raheem Sterling, it appeared normal service had resumed with the opening goal after 27 minutes.

Leroy Sane supplied Fabian Delph on the left-hand side and from his angled cross, Gundogan stole in behind Mamadou Sakho to head in unmarked from eight yards. 

An avalanche of City goals was expected to follow but instead Palace hit back with a stunning one-two.

In the 33rd minute, Stones attempted to tackle James McArthur but diverted the ball with his outstretched leg to Schlupp on the edge of the box

From there, Kyle Walker stood off the Palace player and he cleverly bent a finish into Ederson’s bottom corner.

If that shocked City fans, the next Palace goal within two minutes stunned them into silence. There seemed little danger when Bernardo Silva’s header went to Townsend 30 yards out but the Palace player seized the chance with an outrageous left-foot volley that flew like an Exocet past Ederson into the top corner.

Townsend is collating his own Goal of the Season competition with some incredible strikes but even so this was special. 

WATCH HIGHLIGHT

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