De Bruyne shines as Man City beat Palace to maintain title challenge

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Manchester City maintained their title challenge in ruthless fashion as Kevin de Bruyne contributed to three goals in a victory over Crystal Palace.

In an entertaining encounter, Palace stunned City with an early opener from Jean-Philippe Mateta, before De Bruyne’s wonderful finish pulled the visitors level in the first half.

Mateta raced on to a pass from Adam Wharton and slotted the ball inside the far corner in only the third minute as noise erupted from the stands at Selhurst Park.

But De Bruyne’s curling effort was a sublime equaliser just 10 minutes later.

Palace’s Jordan Ayew struck the crossbar as Oliver Glasner’s side showed plenty of attacking threat but they were undone in the second half as City were clinical.

Having earlier made a crucial stop to deny Erling Haaland finishing off a clever De Bruyne through-ball, home goalkeeper Dean Henderson was unable to block Rico Lewis’ strike within two minutes of the second half.

The defending champions then took control as De Bruyne teed up Haaland again and this time the Norwegian striker finished, before the Belgian added a fourth – his 100th goal for the club – with a ferocious first-time shot.

Substitute Odsonne Edouard slotted in a late consolation for Palace, who ended the game brightly.

But this was another crucial victory for Pep Guardiola’s side in an enthralling three-way title race.

City moved level on points with leaders Liverpool, who visit Manchester United on Sunday, while Arsenal host Brentford later on Saturday.

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