Football Soccer De Bruyne double leads City to emphatic win at
Football Soccer De Bruyne double leads City to emphatic win at

Football: Soccer-De Bruyne double leads City to emphatic win at Palace

LONDON (Reuters) -Kevin de Bruyne struck twice to inspire Manchester City to a dominant 4-2 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday and move the champions level on points with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

Stunned by conceding an early goal scored by Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta, De Bruyne equalised with a superb shot and after second-half goals by Rico Lewis and Erling Haaland the Belgian midfielder added his second.

“It’s just like every other title race. We have to win every game,” the 19-year-old Lewis told TNT Sports. “There’s three teams in it and we have to be the strongest team.”

Odsonne Edouard grabbed a late consolation for the hosts but with seven games remaining City are level on 70 points with Liverpool and two ahead of Arsenal, although both their title rivals have a game in hand.

Mateta had shocked the travelling City supporters with a goal in the third minute, but De Bruyne, who along with Haaland was rested for Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Aston Villa, levelled in the 13th minute with an inch-perfect finish that had manager Pep Guardiola blowing the Belgian kisses.

“I just try to be more of an example with the way I am on the pitch,” De Bruyne said. “I won’t be the person to tell others how to live their lives but I try to show on the pitch.”

Lewis put the visitors ahead soon after the interval, Haaland bagged his 19th goal of the season in the 66th minute from close range and De Bruyne netted his 100th goal for City to keep them well in the hunt for a fourth successive league title.

“The main message was to keep on going,” Lewis said. “The chances would come. We needed to get into the box and that’s what we did.

“As a kid you dream of scoring a goal and celebrating. I want to get more goals and assists.”

City keeper Stefan Ortega made an important contribution late in the first half, dribbling the ball out of danger when Mateta nearly got to a reckless pass back from Rodri.

“We watched City and how they pressed high and I scored early against one of the biggest teams in the world,” Mateta told TNT. “In the second half they came back strongly. They are a good team.”

Jordan Ayew squandered a good Palace chance in the first half after picking Rodri’s pocket and hammering the ball against the crossbar.

Arsenal travel to Brighton & Hove Albion later on Saturday and Liverpool go to Manchester United on Sunday.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing, editing by Ed Osmond)

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