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Raheem Stirling double keeps Manchester City in title fight

Two of a kind:
Sterling
celebrates his
second goal
PICTURE: GETTY

Crystal Palace 1—3 Man City

RAHEEM STERLING’S double kept Manchester City’s bid to retain their Premier League crown on track as they sank Crystal Palace yesterday.

England forward Sterling took his season’s tally to 21 and Gabriel Jesus chipped in with the third as dominant City passed the latest test of their title credentials. Luka Milivojevic replied for the home side.

Selhurst Park has been a graveyard for title campaigns in the recent past, notably when Liverpool’s wheels came off in 2014 and City suffered a similar fate a year later.

Palace were also looking to complete an unlikely double over the champions, as the only visiting team to win at the Etihad Stadium. City arrived in south London with their Champions League first-leg defeat at Tottenham still fresh in their minds and were without midfielder Fernandinho due to a minor knock. Sterling missed an early chance but made no mistake in the 15th minute, after Kevin de Bruyne’s through-ball dissected the Palace defence.

He raced between Patrick van Aanholt and Scott Dann before thumping the ball past Vicente Guaita and into the roof of the net. But surprisingly City could not add to their lead by half-time.

After the break, Sergio Aguero and David Silva combined to feed Sane, who drilled the ball to Sterling and he tucked home.

Milivojevic gave Palace hope when he fired in a free-kick but as Palace hunted an equaliser they were caught on the break, De Bruyne feeding Jesus to slot in, though he looked offside.

Pep hails Raheem’s reaction to squandering gilt-edged chance

PEP GUARDIOLA praised matchwinner Raheem Sterling for keeping his nerve in Manchester City’s vital 3-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Sterling missed a fabulous chance to put City ahead early on, sidefooting David Villa’s pull back wide from just six yards.

But the England forward made no mistake with his next opportunity when Kevin de Bruyne’s through-ball dissected the Palace defence. Sterling rolled in a second just after the hour-mark and Guardiola said: ‘The most important action in our game is the next one.

‘Sometimes you miss, you have to forget it and so Raheem made an incredible finish from an outstanding pass from Kevin. It’s important how you react. That’s why he helped us win the game.’

■ 17 — Assists in all competitions for Leroy Sane (above) this season – he leads the way for Premier League players. Kevin de Bruyne had none in the league until yesterday