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Manchester City 5 Crystal Palace 1: De Bruyne stars but Zabaleta injured

Kevin De Bruyne produced another excellent performance and Pablo Zabaleta was taken off on a stretcher as Manchester City reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup with a 5-1 win over Crystal Palace.

De Bruyne has been in excellent form since joining City from Wolfsburg in a club-record deal in August and scored one and set up another in a routine fourth-round victory on Wednesday.

But progression to the last eight may have come at a cost for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, with full-back Zabaleta taken from the field in the 55th minute with a brace on his knee.

Zabaleta suffered a knee ligament injury in August and only made his first appearance of the season in the Champions League win at Borussia Monchengladbach late last month.

City took the lead in the 22nd minute at the Etihad Stadium through Wilfried Bony’s header before De Bruyne made it 2-0 after 44 minutes with his sixth goal in nine games.

Kelechi Iheanacho, scorer of a last-gasp winner in City’s 1-0 Premier League triumph at Palace in September, put the game beyond doubt and Yaya Toure hit home with a 76th-minute penalty.

Damien Delaney gave Palace something to cheer in the final minutes before 17-year-old Manu Garcia completed the rout.

De Bruyne and Yannick Bolasie each went close in an entertaining opening to the game, the latter stopped from breaking the deadlock by a save from Willy Caballero – in as part of six changes made by Pellegrini from the 0-0 derby draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Palace were left to rue Bolasie’s profligacy as Bony opened the scoring with his third goal of the season, meeting Aleksandar Kolarov’s corner with a header that proved too powerful for Wayne Hennessey to handle.

Hennessey then kept out a deflected Bony strike but the Palace goalkeeper could do nothing to stop De Bruyne putting City in control as teenager Iheanacho broke free on the right and unselfishly squared the ball for De Bruyne to tap into an empty net. 

Palace’s Joe Ledley and Bony spurned gilt-edged chances either side of half-time before Martin Demichelis cleared off his line at the other following shaky goalkeeping from Caballero at a free-kick.

Zabaleta was then carried off after a collision with Zaha, but there was soon more for the home fans to celebrate as De Bruyne returned the favour by setting up Iheanacho for City’s third in the 59th minute.

Iheanacho coolly converted De Bruyne’s left-wing cross into the bottom-left corner and Toure added gloss to the scoreline from 12 yards after Eliaquim Mangala was fouled by Delaney, who headed in a Bolasie cross for some late consolation for Palace.

But there was still time for Garcia to net his first City goal by completing a quick City counter in the 94th minute.

Wed 28 Oct, 2015
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