Crystal Palace earned a stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City as Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher spoiled the party in Pep Guardiola’s 200th Premier League game.
City suffered a first home league defeat of the season and had Aymeric Laporte sent off, the defender having earlier committed the error that gifted Zaha his sixth-minute opening goal – his 50th in the league for Palace.
Spain international Laporte struggled to deal with the Eagles’ star forward and was caught out again in first-half stoppage time, denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the last man with a clumsy challenge and being shown a red card.
Gallagher put the result beyond doubt with two minutes of normal time left to play, emphatically finishing off a counter-attack after good work from Zaha and Michael Olise.
50 – Wilfried Zaha has netted his 50th Premier League goal, becoming the first player to hit that milestone in the top-flight for Crystal Palace. Eagle. pic.twitter.com/FWJAT5HEUu
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 30, 2021
Zaha gave Palace a shock early lead as Gallagher caught Laporte on the ball at the back before finding the Ivory Coast forward, who scuffed a low shot beyond Ederson and into the bottom-right corner.
City struggled to find their rhythm for most of the first half and Laporte’s afternoon went from bad to worse just before the break as the centre-back was shown a straight red card for hauling Zaha down as the Eagles forward was set to go clean through on goal.
The hosts thought they had drawn level on the hour mark as substitute John Stones – a minute after his introduction – picked out Phil Foden with a terrific raking pass and the 21-year-old clipped a ball to the back post where Jesus squeezed home from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check.
City pushed for an equaliser in the remaining half-hour, but Palace remained resolute and stung the hosts in the 88th minute. Zaha held the ball in the box before squaring to Olise, who laid it off for Gallagher with one touch, allowing the midfielder to thump into the top-right corner and ensure Guardiola’s landmark game ended with the Spanish boss empty-handed for once.
What does it mean? City lose ground on Chelsea
Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle United means the table-topping Blues are now on 25 points, five clear of third-placed City after this surprise defeat.
Guardiola’s men were unbeaten in eight Premier League games (W6 D2), since an opening loss to Tottenham, but have now suffered their second league defeat of the season.
Gallagher grabs more goal involvements
In nine appearances in the Premier League this season, Palace midfielder Gallagher has now been directly involved in five goals (three goals, two assists), already surpassing his total tally from last season in 30 games with West Brom (two goals, two assists).
The Chelsea loanee has become a real threat in the final third and produced an exceptional performance to help the Eagles to an unlikely three points.
Laporte lets City down
Laporte’s sending-off was City’s first home red card in the Premier League since October 2019 (Fernandinho against Aston Villa) and their first on home soil in the first half in the league since August 2017 (Kyle Walker against Everton).
The centre-half struggled until his dismissal, giving away possession in the build-up to the goal and failing to convincingly deal with Zaha’s direct running and sharp movement.
City welcome Club Brugge to the Etihad Stadium in Champions League action on Wednesday, while Palace host Wolves next Saturday.
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