Kevin De Bruyne reaches century of Manchester City goals as he inspires win over Palace

Belgian star's superb double sets up 4-2 victory at Selhurst Park and maintains title challenge

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Manchester City kept the heat on their title rivals and Kevin de Bruyne struck his 100th goal for the club in a 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Both the Belgian midfielder and striker Erling Haaland had been doubts for the lunchtime kick-off at Selhurst Park, where Jean-Philippe Mateta gave the hosts a flying start as he fired them in front after just three minutes.

De Bruyne pulled his side level moments later in spectacular fashion, and City took the lead for the first time less than two minutes into the second half via Rico Lewis’ second Premier League goal before De Bruyne set up Haaland for City’s third. De Bruyne then added a fourth with a solo effort to make it a century of goals for City in the 70th minute.

Palace substitute Odsonne Edouard clawed one back but City were clear and deserved winners.

Boss Pep Guardiola could be seen blowing kisses to De Bruyne from the touchline and was keen to praise the inspirational midfielder after the game.

"In the first half we did mistakes but we made a comeback and Kevin de Bruyne won the game with his actions, his assists, his goals and everything. We won the game with him," said the Catalan coach.

"I didn't know that [De Bruyne] enjoyed scoring goals more than assists but I keep pushing him to say we have to win games. He has won many games for us, no doubt. It was really good for his performance."

There was also praise for academy graduates Lewis and Oscar Bobb. "Manuel Akanji pushes a lot and is unbelievable playing at left-back. He is an incredible player. Rico Lewis and Oscar Bobb were really good on that side in the first half. We wanted to score early in the second half and then we could close the game," added Guardiola.

"[Lewis] is an exceptional player. He is really good in the pockets. He has a sense for goal. He is another academy player so that is really good for us."

With Premier League safety all but secured for another season, perhaps the more interesting role for Palace is how they might influence the title race.

Arsenal and City will be keeping an eye on the south Londoners, who travel to Liverpool next weekend.

Mateta gave the home support – as well as the Gunners and Liverpool – something to smile about with the opener; a low strike that kissed the post on its way in.

Adam Wharton, who provided the assist, next tried setting up Eberechi Eze but overhit his pass before City countered and tested Dean Henderson with efforts from Julian Alvarez and Rodri.

There was little Henderson could do to stop De Bruyne, though, who curled into the top right corner for a brilliant finish to draw the sides level in the 13th minute.

The Eagles wanted a penalty when Gvardiol barged into Eze on the stroke of half-time but referee Paul Tierney waved away their protests. Lewis took the wind out of the hosts' sails less than two minutes after the restart, bringing down Jack Grealish’s cross and powering home a shot via a slight deflection.

More chances came City’s way before De Bruyne and Haaland combined for the visitors’ third. It took just four minutes more for De Bruyne to double his tally, drilling past Henderson to extend City’s lead in the 70th minute.

Michael Olise set up fellow Palace substitute Edouard for a golden chance, and after fluffing the initial opportunity, he made up for the miss when he poked past Ortega in the 86th minute.

Updated: April 06, 2024, 9:38 PM