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Man City Capitalise On Liverpool Slip-Up

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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Manchester City beat Crystal Palace to capitalise on Liverpool's defeat by Chelsea and move within three points of the Premier League leaders.

Yaya Toure crossed for Edin Dzeko to head City into an early lead before the Ivorian curled a second from 15 yards.

Jason Puncheon came closest for Palace but his low shot was saved by Joe Hart.

Third-placed City have a game in hand over both Liverpool and second-placed Chelsea as well as a superior goal difference.

To earn the victory that once again placed the destiny of the title in their own hands, Manuel Pellegrini's side were indebted to Toure, who was restored to the team after missing the last two matches with a muscle injury.

The former Barcelona midfielder was allowed too much time on the edge of the area and his clipped cross was met by Dzeko's powerful header for the Bosnian's fifth goal in his last eight games and his 24th of the season.

Palace had won their previous five games, a run that began with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea. The 1-0 defeat of West Ham United in their previous fixture guaranteed Premier League survival for the Eagles.

Tony Pulis has guided Palace to 12 wins in 26 matches since taking over from Ian Holloway in November, but the Eagles never looked like adding to that tally against Pellegrini's title challengers.

City controlled the first half comfortably and Toure had a claim for a penalty turned down by referee Howard Webb after his first-time shot from Sergio Aguero's pass hit Damien Delaney on the arm.

With Javi Garcia anchoring midfield, Toure was free to influence attacks and City's second came through another moment of quality from him.

After swapping passes with Nasri, Toure burst into the penalty area and held off Delaney to curl a left-foot shot beyond Speroni for his 23rd goal of the season.

Hart was forced into his first meaningful save of the match early in the second half. The England goalkeeper dived low to his right to push Puncheon's drive from 20 yards around the post.

Toure curled a shot just over from the edge of the area before making way for substitute Fernandinho with 25 minutes remaining, with Pellegrini seemingly mindful of his side's final three fixtures.

Pulis brought on substitutes Dwight Gayle, Glenn Murray and Tom Ince in search of a goal but City ended the game strongest.

A sharp save from Speroni prevented Dzeko from adding a second as the striker's low shot took a deflection off Scott Dann.

For a gallery of photos from Saturday's Premier League action, head to the BBC Sport Facebook page.

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis
'The goal gave them a massive lift, as did the (Liverpool) result before the game. We could have done with our players being a bit more on edge but they've done fantastically well this season.

'We have to prepare ourselves to get ready for Liverpool. The Premier League is the most competitive in the world and, although we're safe, we have a responsibility to the rest of the league to put in a performance.'

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini
'It was a happy day. It was very important for us. Before today we were depending on other teams. Now we continue as we were two weeks ago, depending only on what we do.

'It was important to get a good start but also not to let Crystal Palace score. It was a very professional performance. But it's not finished, we have to play three games more. We will see in the future who will be the best.'

BBC SPORT