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Andros Townsend's goal of the season contender fired Crystal Palace to a memorable win against Manchester City. It was the first time Palace had taken three points from Eastlands and the winger’s volley was worthy of winning any game.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson didn’t seem surprised by the quality of the left-footed strike, and seemed more taken aback by the fact Townsend almost scored a header.
“Andros has always got one of those in his locker, but the header would have been the icing on the cake,” said Hodgson, who believed his side could put in a good performance here, but may have been surprised by the win.
“I travelled up thinking we could give a good performance but getting something from the game was a tough ask. Luckily today the goals fell for us and that gives us something to cling on to, especially against a side of this quality.”
This was an absorbing game in the cold rain of Manchester. The City players trudged off the field at half-time with mud on their shorts: an indication of the type of defending the pacy Palace counter-attackers were asking them to do.
Ilkay Gundogan had given the home side the lead with a header from Fabian Delph’s cross. Wilfried Zaha was causing problems, but it was Jeffrey Schlupp who netted the equaliser for the visitors before Townsend made a sweet connection with Bernardo Silva’s half clearance to give his side the lead in spectacular fashion.
Kyle Walker’s lunge on Max Meyer after Townsend hit the post with the header Hodgson spoke of gifted Palace a spot kick which Luka Milivojevic duly dispatched.
City were hasty, desperate in their search for goals. So much so that on one occasion an eager ball-boy collected the ball for a quick restart while it was still in play.
They were given hope when substitute Kevin de Bruyne’s cross found the back of the net. Eastlands erupted momentarily, but Palace were able to cling on to the win.
The result means Hodgson’s former side, Liverpool, will not only be top at Christmas, but also have a four point cushion. His current side will be looking to capitalise on this victory by defeating Cardiff at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day.
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