A fantastic second half hat-trick from Erling Haaland helped Manchester City recover from two goals down against Crystal Palace to secure a dramatic 4-2 comeback victory at the Etihad Stadium to go top of the Premier League.
Palace took four points off Pep Guardiola’s side last season, and the Eagles took the lead in this fixture once again after just four minutes.
John Stones put the ball into his own net from an Ebere Eze free-kick to give the visitors the advantage. Things went from bad to worse for City just fifteen minutes later, as Joachim Andersen doubled Palace’s lead with a towering header from a corner.
Going down by two goals yet again meant that City had been behind by that margin in four of their last six league games. Crucially, however, the Citizens had not lost any of those previous matches.
Then, early on into the second half, they had a goal back courtesy of Bernardo Silva, who finished low into the net from the edge of the area. The comeback was on.
City completed the comeback ten minutes later, as Haaland took his first chance of the game to head in Phil Foden’s cross beyond Vicente Guaita at the far post. The Norwegian then had his brace in the 70th minute, as he scored an easy-tap in after some slick one-touch play in the box to put his side in front.
Haaland then capped off a superb afternoon at the Etihad Stadium for his side with his third of the game in the 81st minute, as he latched onto a through pass by Ilkay Gundogan to finish well into the corner to secure a famous hat-trick for City in just his fifth competitive match for his new club.
TALKING POINT – CITY TURN ON THE STYLE IN SECOND HALF TO SEAL FAMOUS COMEBACK WIN
It was a case of deja vu for Manchester City in the first half, as Crystal Palace’s two-goal lead surely brought back flashbacks of last season’s defeat to the Eagles at the Etihad Stadium. City had their moments in the first half, but Palace remained resolute off the ball in their structured shape.
The second half proved to be the turning point, as Pep Guardola’s side started to stretch Palace’s wing-backs and get crosses into the box. Bernardo Silva’s performance should not go amiss either, as his ability to glide past defenders with his close control was a joy to watch at times. Once Palace’s rearguard was breached, it was a matter of when, not if, for Manchester City in terms of their comeback, and the goals began to flow. Never write off the defending champions.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ERLING HAALAND
After a fairly underwhelming first half for the striker, which saw him register just one attempt at goal (which was off target), the 22-year-old showed just how much of a penalty box poacher he is in the second period, with a superb 19-minute treble to help his side seal a comeback victory.
He demonstrated how good he is in the air, with a thumping header for his first. Then, for the second, it was an easy tap in from a few yards out – which is meat and drink for a forward like him. He then showed just how good his turn of pace is in behind and the strength he has to hold off defenders for his third and final goal. City again have a number nine that will pounce at any given opportunity once the creativity in the team is flowing. A superb second-half performance from the Norwegian.
Manchester City: Ederson 6, Walker 6, Stones 6, Dias 7, Cancelo 6, De Bruyne 6, Rodri 7, Silva 8, Mahrez 6, Foden 7, Haaland 8. Subs: Palmer 6, Gomez 6, Gundogan 7, Alvarez 6.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 6, Mitchell 6, Guehi 6, Andersen 7, Ward 6, Clyne 6, Eze 7, Schlupp 6, Doucoure 6, Ayew 6, Edouard 6. Subs: Olise 6, Hughes 6, Richards 6, Mateta 6.
4’ – OWN GOAL! (John Stones OG) – Palace take the lead! Eze whips in a free-kick into the area from just outside the box near the right-side byline, and the ball takes a couple of ricochets before Stones gets the final touch and the ball goes past Ederson and into the back of his own net!
21’ – GOAL! (Joachim Andersen) – What a fantastic start to this game for the visitors! It’s Joachim Andersen who heads in from an Ebere Eze corner from the right hand side and City are once again done from a set-piece! What a header from the centre back!
53’ – GOAL! (Bernardo Silva) – What a strike by Bernardo Silva! The attacker does brilliantly to cut inside into the area with his left foot, making his way towards the centre, before hitting a low shot beyond Guaita in the Palace goal! Is the comeback on?
62’ – GOAL! (Erling Haaland) – Guess who? It’s that man Erling Haaland! The big Norwegian forward heads in a Foden cross from the left-side at the box and City have once again recovered from a two-goal deficit!
70’ – GOAL! (Erling Haaland) – Well, well, well! The comeback is complete once again! And it’s that man with his second of the game! Some fantastic one-touch football in the box following a corner sees Bernardo find Stones, and the defender plays in Haaland, albeit with a scuffed shot, and the striker has the easiest of tap-ins!
81’ – GOAL! (Erling Haaland) – What a player this young man is. After completely being out of the game in the first half, Haaland has his third of the second half! A fantastic through ball by Gundogan finds the Norwegian, and he successfully uses his strength to hold off Ward and he finishes superbly from close-range to seal the win for City!