De Bruyne’s ‘incredible’ performance helps Manchester City defeat Crystal Palace

86

Manchester City continued their pursuit of the title in a dominant display, with Kevin de Bruyne reaching a milestone by scoring his 100th goal for the club in a remarkable comeback win against Crystal Palace.

In an exhilarating match, Crystal Palace surprised Manchester City with an early goal by Jean-Philippe Mateta, capitalizing on a pass from Adam Wharton to slot the ball into the far corner just three minutes into the game, igniting cheers from the crowd at Selhurst Park.

However, Kevin de Bruyne swiftly responded with a magnificent curled finish to level the score just ten minutes later.

De Bruyne continued to shine throughout the game, earning praise from City manager Pep Guardiola, who credited his “incredible” qualities for their success.

“For many years he has been one of the best players for our club,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.

“What he has done in England has been unbelievable. Many goals, assists and consistency. We had four or five months without him and now we need him at the end of the season.

“I think he likes to score goals but I don’t know if he enjoys it more to make an assist. He is so generous with that – but he has to continue.”

Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace struck the crossbar, showcasing Oliver Glasner’s team’s attacking prowess. However, despite their offensive threats, they were ultimately undone in the second half.

Earlier, Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson made a vital save to deny Erling Haaland from capitalizing on a clever through-ball from De Bruyne. Nonetheless, Henderson was unable to prevent Rico Lewis from scoring just two minutes into the second half.

Manchester City then seized control, with De Bruyne setting up Haaland for a goal before adding a fourth himself, marking his 100th goal for City since joining in 2015, with a powerful first-time shot.

Substitute Odsonne Edouard managed to slot in a late consolation goal for Palace, but it was another crucial victory for Guardiola’s side in the fiercely contested three-way title race.

With this win, City drew level on points with league leaders Liverpool, who were set to face Manchester United on Sunday, while Arsenal were scheduled to play Brighton later on Saturday.

Foden rested but De Bruyne steps up for City

With an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final clash against Real Madrid, Guardiola implemented four changes to the City lineup. Phil Foden, who recently netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa, found himself on the bench.

However, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were brought in, and both left their mark, propelling City’s quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive league title.

Palace, still adjusting under new manager Glasner, displayed encouraging signs, particularly in the first half. Their defensive resilience and organization thwarted the visitors’ advances.

The return of Michael Olise from injury, coming off the bench after missing seven games, provided a boost for Palace. Meanwhile, Odsonne Edouard’s lively presence nearly resulted in a goal before he eventually found the net with a close-range finish four minutes from time.

Glasner commented, “I’m not content with the outcome, but I witnessed many positives in our performance.” Despite the loss, he acknowledged the team’s ability to create scoring opportunities while emphasizing the disappointment of conceding four goals.

Ultimately, City’s strength prevailed. Guardiola had the luxury of resting Foden and Bernardo Silva, while De Bruyne showcased his class and secured his milestone goal following a season marred by injuries.

Additionally, the return of defender John Stones, who completed the full match after an injury sustained on international duty, provided another boost for City.

Palace has historically proven a formidable opponent for City, having previously come back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 at the Etihad. Thus, this victory was crucial for Guardiola’s side to maintain pressure on Liverpool and Arsenal.