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Sterling and Jesus take City one step closer to the title

Pin Sterling scored twice in his side's victory over Palace. AFP
Sterling scored twice in his side's victory over Palace. AFP

Sterling and Jesus take City one step closer to the title

Paul Singh by Paul Singh @besoccer_com - 1 4,093

Two goals from Raheem Sterling and one from Gabriel Jesus gave the Mancunians a 1-3 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Luka Milivojevic set up a grandstand finish with his goal.

Man City took another step towards the league title after defeating Crystal Palace 1-3 at Selhurst Park in a game they dominated most of. They will be top for at least a couple of hours depending on the result of the Liverpool v Chelsea game later on, but in any case, City know that if they win their remaining five games, they will be champions. 

The away side started with plenty of possession and territory and forced a couple of corners early on. Palace had the first chance of the game with a Milivojevic shot from long range which cleared the crossbar, but Sterling had the first clear-cut opportunity after 10 minutes. Palace lost the ball in midfield, Sane played a one-two with Aguero and the German then gave the ball to Silva. The Spaniard, who was near the by-line, went past McArthur with ease and crossed for Sterling who inexplicably hit it wide. 

Palace had hardly stepped into City's half when Sterling gave City the lead five minutes later. Kompany cut out a pass deep in his own half, Gundogan gave the ball to De Bruyne. He put in a stunning pass for Raheem Sterling who took his time and put the ball over Guaita and into the goal. It was just a matter of time, 

Schlupp had to go off injured in the 22nd minute after Kompany caught him with his follow through. He was forced off and his substitute, Kouyate, was a positive introduction for the hosts. He sent through Zaha on one occasion and if it were not for Sterling, Man City could have been in trouble.

Aguero hit over the bar in the 28th minute after Silva laid him off the ball and Palace were also attacking. Just after the half-hour, Milivojevic looped in a ball for Benteke, he headed across for Kouyate and Gundogan got there to clear the dangerous attack. One minute later, Sane, who was a nuisance for Place down the near side, ran into the area beating Townsend and McArthur with ease before trying to beat Guaita at the near post. The Spaniard read it and knocked it for a corner.

In the 38th minute, a Benteke slip brought about a dangerous counter which ended after Aguero inexplicably stopped and therefore was unable to get on the end of De Bruyne's pass. Right on half-time, it should have been 0-2. Gundogan sent in a spectacular pass from 35 yards, Sane, Sterling and Silva all got in each other's way and De Bruyne had to come in from behind to shoot. His effort was blocked for a corner and Palace were lucky to just be 0-1 down against a team who had had 77% possession and dominated the enitre half.

After the break, City's dominance continued. Kelly almost scored an own goal three minutes in after Silva let a De Bruyne ball go through his legs. Guaita was alert though. City remained in complete command and Sterling made a run on one cocasion before seeing his shot blocked. They were constantly forcing corners and the Palace defence had to clear on numerous occasions. 

In the 63rd minute, Sterling doubled City's lead. Walker passed for Aguero in the middle, who then looked for Silva, Silva was cornered by the by-line and Dann, so he cut back to Sane. The German spotted Sterling on the edge of the six-yard box and he placed the ball in the far corner. It looked to be game, set and match, but Palace had other ideas. They started to throw everyone forward and 20 minutes from time, Benteke tested Ederson with a sort of bicycle kick, but it ended up being comfortable for the goalkeeper. 

That said, City continued to attack and Sane hit at Guaita three minutes later. In the 77th minute, Gundogan hit miles over the bar after Sterling was unable to find space in the area. Aguero, who had been subbed off earlier, went down the tunnel limping before the end of the game and may well be injured. It looked like City were cruising towards a victory until Gundogan fouled McArthur on the edge of the box in the 80th minute.

Luka Milivojevic scored a superb goal from the free-kick. Kouyate was in the wall and a combination of him and Bernardo Silva left a gap in the wall which the Serbian found. It set up a grandstand finish and Guardiola's side were forced to suffer against a side in mid-table who had nothing to play for. Zaha could have made it 2-2 in the 88th minute when he chested a ball down in the City box, but he slipped at the most inoppoortune moment and that was to be their last chance.

Gabriel Jesus killed off the game in the 90th minute on the counterattack. Wan Bissaka tried to meg Bernardo Silva with a quick free kick, it was blocked, the ball broke to De Bruyne who countered rapidly. The Belgian looked to his left and passed for Jesus and after a taking a touch, he fired past Guaita. Jesus was clearly offside, but the officials did not spot it. Despite the scare, Man City ended up winning to take another step towards winning the Premier League at the expense of Liverpool.

Paul Singh

Paul Singh

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