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Crystal Palace v Man City: Freeze Frame

Manchester City travelled to Selhurst Park on 27 April 2014 for a crucial game with Crystal Palace that would have a huge bearing on their title chances.

The Match

Liverpool had been favourites for the title since beating City 3-2 at Anfield earlier in the month but their defeat at home to Chelsea in the day’s early kick-off meant the pendulum had swung back in City’s favour.

A win over Palace would put the Blues three points behind Brendan Rodgers’ side with a game in hand...but crucially, City had a superior goal difference. It was a hugely important occasion and the pre-match nerves were palpable.

The City fans in the away end were in fine voice prior to kick-off and Edin Dzeko’s brilliant early header increased the volume significantly.

The day was panning out perfectly and the travelling Blues were partying in style.

Yaya Toure curled in a second just before the break and City held firm, winning the game 2-0 to ease themselves back in control of the race for the Premier League trophy. 

It was a special day; one few City fans will ever forget.

Manuel Pellegrini's side went on to win all their remaining matches to finish two points clear of Liverpool and win their fourth league title. 

The Moment

This was the moment Toure unleashed his wonderful left-footed strike that doubled City’s lead.  

He played a one-two with Samir Nasri on the halfway line, burst into the Palace box, took on Damien Delaney and then blasted past Julian Speroni in the Palace goal.

It was a spectacular piece of play from a man on top of his game. 

The Picture

1Damien Delaney

Palace defender Damien Delaney could only look on helplessly as Toure extended City’s lead.

He was left totally bamboozled by the Ivorian’s moment of skill inside the area, and this image captures him getting back to his feet and watching the ball fly into the net having been put on the ground seconds earlier.

The Irishman, who has also played for Ipswich, QPR and Hull, has made 177 appearances for Palace and remains a regular under new manager Sam Allardyce.

2Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero had recently returned from a month out through injury and was far from at his best for this game.

But his goals during the season had been crucial. He bagged 26 in all competitions before the end of January, a remarkable achievement even by his standards.

He is once again City's top scorer this season with 18 goals in 24 appearances. 

3Yaya Toure

City’s Ivorian midfielder has been one of the club’s most important signings.

His goals en route to winning the 2011 FA Cup were crucial in ending City’s 35-year wait for silverware, and he’s continued to deliver at vital moments ever since.

And this was perhaps the finest season of his career. He scored 24 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the Premier League alone, and dominated the majority of matches he played.

After the game, Tony Pulis, then in charge of Palace, described Toure’s performance as “fantastic,” and admitted “to see his name on the teamsheet was disappointing for me because he’s a fantastic player.”

4The Ball

The bend Toure managed to get on the finish was exquisite, moving the ball outside of the post and back in at the last second to see it nestle in the top corner. Speroni had no chance. 

Watch highlights of the game below. 

 

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