Manchester City eased back to the top of the Premier League as Raheem Sterling struck twice to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
The English champions move a point ahead of Liverpool, who host Chelsea at Anfield later on Sunday, with five games remaining for both sides. Sterling had already missed a glorious chance before opening the scoring on 15 minutes as City rarely looked troubled despite having failed to beat Palace on their two previous meetings.
Another cool Sterling finish looked to have ended the game as a contest 27 minutes from time. However, Pep Guardiola’s men had to see out a nervous finale to ramp up the pressure on Liverpool when Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick gave Palace hope of a dramatic comeback.
Instead, City broke to seal the three points on the counter-attack when the outstanding Kevin de Bruyne teed up Gabriel Jesus to make it 3-1. The trip to south London kicked off a massive week for City with Tottenham to visit the Etihad twice in the next six days for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final and a vital Premier League clash with implications for both the title and top four race.
City must overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit against Spurs to progress to the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.