Man City on the ropes

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Crys­tal Palace left Manch­ester City’s hopes of re­tain­ing their Pre­mier League crown in tat­ters af­ter a 2-1 win at Sel­hurst Park to leave Manuel Pel­le­grini’s (pic­ture) side trail­ing a dis­tant fourth in the ti­tle race. The de­feat kept City nine points be­hind lead­ers Chelsea and seem­ingly now in a battle to fin­ish above Ar­se­nal and Manch­ester United.

Chelsea, who have eight matches to play, have 70 points, fol­lowed by Ar­se­nal on 63, Manch­ester United on 62 and City on 61. That trio all have seven matches re­main­ing.

Im­pres­sive Palace de­fended res­o­lutely to with­stand early City pres­sure be­fore tak­ing the lead through Glenn Mur­ray af­ter 34 min­utes. He swept in from close range af­ter Scott Dann’s shot bounced off goal­keeper Joe Hart’s leg into his path.

The goal stood de­spite City claim­ing Palace had been off­side in the build-up, but there was no ar­gu­ment about Palace’s sec­ond three min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Fer­nand­inho brought down the out­stand­ing Mur­ray 20 me­tres from goal and Ja­son Pun­cheon swept his curl­ing free kick over the wall and past Hart into the cor­ner of the goal. Yaya Toure gave City some hope with a thun­der­ous drive af­ter 78 min­utes but although Palace dealt his team what could be a fa­tal blow to their ti­tle hopes, Pel­le­grini was not con­ced­ing the race was over yet.

“We lost to an off­side goal and a beau­ti­ful free kick and we did not take our chances,” he told Sky Sports.

“We are not talk­ing about the ti­tle now, or Chelsea. We are just try­ing to win our games. We have seven games left they are all very im­por­tant, there are 21 points and all we must do is win our games.”

City came to Palace af­ter a run of patchy form with only four wins in their last 13 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions and were al­most dealt an early blow in the sec­ond minute when Wil­fried Zaha blasted his an­gled drive over. City soon set­tled with David Silva and Ser­gio Aguero com­bin­ing well up front, and Aguero came close to open­ing the scor­ing af­ter 19 min­utes but saw his shot can­non away off the foot of Ju­lian Sper­oni’s right-hand post. — Reuters

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