Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City: Raheem Sterling scores twice to secure win
Report and highlights as City temporarily moved above Liverpool at the top of the table
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 14/04/19 8:27pm
Raheem Sterling scored twice as Manchester City survived a late scare to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and maintain their Premier League title challenge.
Sterling struck in the 15th minute, shortly after a glaring miss, and then netted again in the 63rd minute - his 17th of the season in the Premier League - to put City in firm control at Selhurst Park on Super Sunday.
It looked like a stroll for City until Luka Milivojevic converted with a low free-kick from the edge of the box in the 81st minute.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (5), Van Aanholt (5), Dann (5), Kelly (5), Wan-Bissaka (6), McArthur (5), Milivojevic (6), Schlupp (5), Townsend (5), Zaha (5), Benteke (5)
Subs: Kouyate (5), Meyer (5), Sako (5)
Manchester City: Ederson (5), Walker (7), Kompany (7), Laporte (7), Mendy (7), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (8), David Silva (6), Sane (7), Sterling (8), Aguero (6)
Subs: Bernardo Silva (5), Jesus (6), Stones (5)
Man of the match: Raheem Sterling
However, City avoided any further scares and Gabriel Jesus added a late third to ensure victory and put the pressure on Liverpool, who responded with victory over Chelsea later on Super Sunday to stay two points ahead at the top of the table, having also played a game more.
The win was City's ninth in a row in the Premier League and rarely looked in doubt as Palace, who are 11 points clear of the relegation zone, were unable to repeat their shock 3-2 victory at the Etihad in December.
How City returned to the top of the table
City controlled the game from the first whistle and should have taken the lead in the 10th minute when Sterling dragged a shot wide from eight yards out.
Pep Guardiola had his head in his hands after Sterling's miss, but the England international soon made amends as he raced clear in the 15th minute and finished from Kevin De Bruyne's fine pass.
Palace struggled to get out of their own half and Sergio Aguero shot wide before Vicente Guaita saved at the near post from Leroy Sane.
City's best chance to extend their lead in the first half came in the 45th minute when Ilkay Gundogan's chipped pass into the box fell to De Bruyne and he fired at Guaita from close range.
There was no respite from City after the break and it looked like they had put the result beyond doubt when they scored a second in the 63rd minute, with Sane driving across goal and Sterling finishing from 10 yards out.
However, Milivojevic set up a tense finish when he fired in a low free-kick from the edge of the box.
Palace made two changes from their win at Newcastle as Scott Dann replaced the injured James Tomkins in defence and Christian Benteke came in for Michy Batshuayi to make his first start since February 9.
Benjamin Mendy returned from injury for City to make his first league appearance since November 11, replacing Fabian Delph at left-back.Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany also started, but Fernandinho missed out due to an injury described as “short term” by Pep Guardiola.
Ederson might feel he should have done better with the free-kick, but City survived without any further scares, and Jesus added a third on the break in the 90th minute to wrap up the win.
- Manchester City have won five away Premier League games against London sides this season, their highest ever number of victories in the capital within a single top-flight campaign.
- Crystal Palace have only won one of their last 13 Premier League games played on a Sunday (D3 L9), losing five of their last six such matches.
- Manchester City have scored 150 goals in all competitions this season, only the second time a top-flight side has managed that feat in all competitions in top-flight history, with Man City also doing so in 2013-14 (156 goals).
- Crystal Palace have lost 17 times in the Premier League this season, the joint-most defeats within a single campaign in the competition for a Roy Hogdson side alongside the 2011-12 season, whilst in charge of West Brom.
- Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic is the first player this season to score both home and away in the Premier League against Manchester City.
- Sergio Agüero has failed to score in each of his six Premier League appearances at Selhurst Park (15 shots, 0 goals) - only at Anfield (7 apps) has the Argentine visited more often in the competition without finding the net.
- Raheem Sterling's brace for Manchester City was his first ever double away from home for the Citizens, last scoring more than once on the road in any club competition back in December 2014 for Liverpool against Bournemouth.
- Kevin De Bruyne's assist for Manchester City's opening goal was his first in the Premier League in 336 days, last doing so before today on the final day of the 2017-18 season against Southampton.
- Gabriel Jesus has scored 19 goals for Manchester City in all competitions this season, averaging a goal every 112 minutes. Only Sergio Aguero (a goal every 99 mins) is averaging a goal at a quicker rate than the Brazilian for the club this season.
Roy Hodgson: "We gave it our best shot. I can't complain with the way the team tried hard to give Man City a good game and dent their progress but we weren't good enough to do that."
Pep Guardiola: "We played December, January, February, every three days, why should we not trust these guys to do it again? Of course, we can lose, we are not invincible. We have weaknesses.
"We have done two seasons, 183 points, with five games left, two seasons, why should I doubt what these players have done? I never doubt my players."
Man of the match - Raheem Sterling
Graeme Souness called Sterling "fabulous and sensational" after his double inspired City's win - as well as declaring him worthy of the Premier League's Player of the Year award. Sterling missed one excellent chance in the 10th minute but produced composed finishes to net his first away Premier League brace since 2014.
Palace travel to Arsenal in the Premier League next Sunday.
City have three tough fixtures coming up as they host Tottenham in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday and then play Spurs again in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports. They then travel to Manchester United on Wednesday, April 24, live on Sky Sports.