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Manchester City vs Crystal Palace. Premier League.

Etihad StadiumAttendance54,439.

Manchester City 2

  • S Agüero (82nd minute, 87th minute)

Crystal Palace 2

  • C Tosun (39th minute)
  • Fernandinho (90th minute own goal)

Manchester City 2-2 Crystal Palace: Champions' grip on title gets weaker after draw

Match report and highlights as Pep Guardiola's side drop more points at home

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights as Manchester City and Crystal Palace draw in the Premier League

Manchester City's grip on the Premier League title got even weaker as Crystal Palace earned a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium following a dramatic final 10 minutes.

Kevin De Bruyne hit the bar early on with a brilliant 30-yard free kick, but Palace scored against the run of play as Cenk Tosun headed home at the far post from a corner (39), the visitors' first and only effort of the first half.

City had a penalty correctly overturned by VAR in the second half following a Jairo Riedewald handball, before sub Gabriel Jesus curled a beauty for Sergio Aguero to convert at the far post (82).

Aguero got his second and what looked to be the winner with a fine header (87), but Palace refused to feel sorry for themselves as Wilfried Zaha forced a Fernandinho own goal (90).

Player ratings

Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (6), Stones (5), Fernandinho (5), Mendy (6), Gundogan (6), David Silva (7), Bernardo Silva (7), De Bruyne (6), Sterling (6), Aguero (7)

Subs: Jesus (7), Mahrez (6), Rodri (NA)

Crystal Palace: Guaita (8), Kelly (7), Cahill (8), Tomkins (7), Riedewald (7), McArthur (7), McCarthy (7), Kouyate (7), Zaha (7), Ayew (8), Tosun (8)

Subs: Wickham (NA), Ward (NA)

Man of the match: Gary Cahill

The result means City are 13 points behind Liverpool, who have two games in hand, the first of which comes against Manchester United on Super Sunday. Palace, meanwhile, are ninth, four points off the top six.

Cenk Tosun celebrates his goal against Man City
Image: Cenk Tosun celebrates the opening goal against Man City on his full debut

How Palace scuppered City again

City dominated the first half, but were faced by a tight and prepared Palace unit as they struggled to break them down, 13 months after Palace had famously won here thanks to Andros Townsend's stunning volley.

They came closest from a free kick as De Bruyne's knuckled effort hit the underside of the bar, while at the other end Palace were denied a penalty as Zaha went down in the box under John Stones' challenge, but referee Graham Scott, and then VAR, adjudged that the Palace man had instigated the contact.

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City continued to probe - they had 71 per cent possession in the first half and 10 shots - but were outdone by a corner as Gary Cahill's superb header across goal found Tosun lurking unmarked at the back post. He did the rest, directing a header into the far corner for only his third club goal in just under a year.

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring his and Man City's second goal of the game
Image: Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring his and Man City's second goal of the game

Pep Guardiola's 49th birthday had not started well, but it began to improve in the second half. City started to move the ball quicker and were awarded a penalty by Scott with 20 minutes remaining for a handball by Riedewald from a right-wing cross. However, VAR showed the ball had ricocheted off his foot and onto his hand, and the decision was overturned in accordance to handball rules.

Handball rule

It is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball if it has deflected off the body of an opponent, team-mate, or even another part of the own player.

So a handball will not be awarded if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/nearby.

Guardiola brought Jesus on, and the Brazilian set up the leveller, curling a fine ball to the back post for Aguero to turn home on the stretch, and the comeback was seemingly complete five minutes later as Benjamin Mendy's left-wing ball was brilliantly headed into the ground and out of Vicente Guaita's grasp with three minutes remaining.

But that did not flatten Palace and, in particular, Zaha, who piled his way to the left byline shortly after, and saw his low cross inadvertently turned home by Fernandinho under his own crossbar.

Team news

City made three changes as Rodri, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez came out for Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.

Palace made one change from the 1-1 draw with Arsenal as Max Meyer was replaced by Cenk Tosun.

The title was always out of City's grasp - according to Guardiola - but momentum is key going into a heavy period of cup games, with Palace again showing what it takes to stop the City juggernaut at the Etihad.

What the managers said

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: "We defended bad in the last action, we allowed them to run when in that moment after we'd come back we couldn't allow them to make a counter attack. But we had 25 shots, I don't know how many corners, so we did everything to win the game, we concede a few, but we scored a goal, so in the end we lose two points."

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says that his side tried everything possible to win

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson: "I think it was an incredible effort from the players. Many teams might have collapsed after getting so close to a really good result, so it showed great character to get the equaliser. There is no secret to getting a result here, it's discipline, organisation and determination. It isn't rocket science, because you know man-for-man arguably they are possibly better than you."

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Roy Hodgson was delighted with his side's character

Opta stats

  • Manchester City have conceded 12 goals in their 12 league games at the Etihad Stadium this season, as many as their 19 home league matches last term.
  • City have conceded the first goal in six of their last nine home league games, as many as they had in their first 60 under Pep Guardiola.
  • Sergio Aguero scored his 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for Manchester City in his 360th appearance for the club.
  • David Silva made his 300th Premier League appearance for Manchester City - becoming the first player to reach that total for the club in the competition.

What's next?

City now go to Sheffield United on Tuesday night at 7.30pm, before hosting Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round at 1pm on Sunday. Palace host Southampton on Tuesday evening in the Premier League.

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