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Heroic Haaland completes trademark City comeback

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Manchester City showed their resilience yet again, coming from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium. Erling Haaland’s maiden hat-trick for the holders ensured Pep Guardiola’s side have now won each of their last six home games in the Premier League, scoring 24 in the process.

In the absence of Wilfried Zaha, Patrick Vieira was on the search for a new talisman to take the Champions down. Eberechi Eze was the architect of their goal at Anfield, and he created a quick-fire opener for the Eagles in fortuitous circumstances. His free-kick from the right was deflected off both Kyle Walker and John Stones before eventually finding its way past a stranded Ederson.

The game settled into a more predictable pattern, with Guardiola’s men controlling possession and waiting for openings. There was nothing to unduly stress Vicente Guaita though, and Palace punished the hosts’ lack of cutting edge by doubling their advantage. Eze was again the provider, whipping in a glorious corner that was met by the completely unmarked Joachim Andersen, who found the bottom corner with a powerful header.

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City have now fallen two goals behind in four of their last six Premier League games, but did come from behind to salvage a result in each of the previous three, including against Newcastle United last time out. Within 10 minutes of the restart, the magic trick appeared to be repeating itself. Bernardo Silva cut in from the right, before his tame shot was deflected by Jeffrey Schlupp into the back of the net.

The hosts’ pressure was relentless and the equaliser came just after the hour-mark. Phil Foden’s cross from the left was steered home by the head of Erling Haaland, who scored his first goal in front of the home crowd at the Etihad. Another remarkable comeback was restored with a sensational piece of play inside the area. Intricate link-up between Julián Álvarez and Silva teed up Stones, but the defender dragged his shot. To his relief, his effort landed straight to Haaland to tap in, scoring his second within 10 minutes of his first.

With City the only side in the league yet to concede after the 60th minute, it came as little surprise that Palace failed to stage their own turnaround. Haaland put the game beyond doubt, completing his hat-trick after shrugging off Joel Ward to slot home his third. The Cityzens temporarily return to the Premier League summit, as they aim to become only the second side to win the title in three consecutive seasons.

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