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November 26 2020 9.51am

Manchester City 1 - 0 Palace

Sat Mar 16 2002 - League

Not surprisingly Crystal Palace were unable to beat table-topping Manchester City and left Maine Road with a 1-0 defeat.

Palace stifled City for long periods of the game and had there not been slack marking in which City scored from, they could have earned a valuable point away from home.

The home side started brightly and in the first few minutes, Danny Tiatto pulled a shot wide and Richard Dunne had an effort also wide from the edge of the box.

Then the Citizens went 1-0 up through Kevin Horlock in the 10th minute. Shaun Wright-Phillips put in a great cross and Horlock headed home past Matt Clarke.

Tiatto went close with a long-range strike but the league leaders were struggling to find a second goal, which gave Palace more confidence to come back into the game.

Jovan Kirovski came on for Julian Gray at half-time and shortly afterwards Ade Akinbiyi replaced Dougie Freedman.

Darren Huckerby was a major threat with his pace and trickery and luckily for Palace, goalscoring is one of his bad points as his shots missed the target.

Ali Benarbia forced Clarke into a save with a spectacular overhead kick and recent signing Jon Macken came off the bench and went close with a header.

In the last 10 minutes, Palace played with more belief and looked like they could have snatched a point with a late bit of pressure, but former Eagle Carlo Nash was not tested as Steve Thomson had a shot from the edge of the box wide in the closing stages.

Post match comments:

Trevor Francis said: "The home supporters were whistling for the final whistle which tells you how we played.

"We are disappointed to lose but the players applied themselves and can feel satisfied with how they did.

"We made as difficult as possible for the opposition as you have to recognise City are the best team in the league and you have to play well here to get a result.

"We tried to deny them space and it worked well, though I would have liked to see us do more going forward. But all credit to the opposition who defended well.

"We were up against a side which is without doubt the best in this division and this meant I was happy with the way the team applied themselves over the whole ninety minutes.

"We still have a mathematical chance of making the play-offs but we need to win five of our remaining six matches and that is a tall order."

Kevin Keegan said: "We weren't quite at our best, and it was the poorest we have played for a while.

"Maybe we took a touch too much on the ball and the pitch was also a little dead.

"But you also have to give Crystal Palace credit as they worked very hard to stop us.

"Other teams have tried to do likewise and failed, and I can see Palace being a danger next season. They have some good players but have hit a bad patch at the wrong time.

"We have played fantastic stuff this season but we didn't quite get going.

"Maybe the hectic fixture list caught up with us, but we still created a fair few chances and we also had a few players absent."

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Match Stats

Ground: Maine Road (Attendance: 33632)

Manchester City: Nash, Dunne, Wiekens, Pearce, Wright-Phillips, Benarbia, Horlock, Jensen, Tiatto (Sun Jihai, 45), Goater (Macken, 72), Huckerby

Subs not used: Royce, Howey, Mettomo

Bookings: Benarbia, Horlock, Jihai

Goal: Horlock 10

Palace: Clarke, Austin, Murphy, Mullins, Smith (Rodger, 86), Riihilahti, Thomson, Granville, Gray (Kirovski, 45), Freedman (Akinbiyi, 58), Morrison

Subs not used: Kolinko, Berhalter

Bookings: Riihilahti, Smith

Referee: M Clattenburg (Northumberland)

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