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FootballMan City beat Crystal Palace: De Bruyne 'won game' with goals and...

Man City beat Crystal Palace: De Bruyne ‘won game’ with goals and assist, says Guardiola

Kevin De Bruyne “won the game” for Manchester City as the title contenders came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 4-2 and go level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

Midfielder De Bruyne was an unused substitute in City’s 4-1 home win over Aston Villa on Wednesday but returned to the starting line-up alongside fellow notable absentees John Stones and Erling Haaland at Selhurst Park.

The Belgium playmaker produced a glorious strike from just outside the penalty area to draw City level after 13 minutes, then set up Haaland to make it 3-1 and added a fourth goal 20 minutes from time.

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“Kevin won the game with his actions, with the goals and assists,” Guardiola told TNT Sports.

“I don’t know what he enjoys more, scoring goals or assists. He has won a lot of games for us, no doubt. His performance was really good.”

De Bruyne has struggled to return to full fitness following hamstring surgery which kept him out for five months of the campaign, but the 32-year-old remains hugely influential and was directly involved in eight goals in five matches after his initial comeback in January.

Palace v Man City result

Jean-Philippe Mateta had fired Palace into a shock third-minute lead and, after De Bruyne replied, Rico Lewis gave the visitors the advantage for the first time two minutes after the interval.

“He’s an exceptional player,” Guardiola smiled. “He has a sense of goal. He arrives in the final third in training sessions. We were lucky to score the second goal early in the second half.”

Odsonne Edouard scored an 86th-minute consolation for Palace but Guardiola’s run of never losing an away game to the Eagles continued.

City are also unbeaten in 25 matches in all competitions, including a 16-game undefeated run in the top flight which has kept them squarely in a tight title race with the Reds and Arsenal.

The reigning champions are below Liverpool because of a two-goal inferiority and two points above the Gunners.

Arsenal must win to the top of the table when they visit Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (5.30pm GMT), but Liverpool will have the chance to claim the summit again they play at Manchester United on Sunday (3.30pm GMT).

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