Belfast Telegraph

Townsend stunned as Palace beat 'team of our generation' Manchester City

Manchester City 2 Crystal Palace 3

Top strike: Andros Townsend scored the ‘best goal’ of his career
Top strike: Andros Townsend scored the ‘best goal’ of his career

By Andy Hampson

Andros Townsend felt he had almost completed the impossible after helping Crystal Palace take Manchester City down with a stunning goal.

The Palace winger struck with a ferocious volley - measured at 29 yards by TV broadcasters - as Palace came from behind to claim a shock 3-2 win over the champions at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It was a completely unexpected result and Townsend was almost at a loss to explain it.

"I have said before Man City are probably the team of our generation," said the 27-year-old.

"I have never played against a team as good as them, especially at home, and it is impossible to get the ball off them.

"We knew if we were going to get anything it was going to have to be a perfect disciplined performance and it saw us to a well-needed three points."

City took the lead through Ilkay Gundogan but Palace stunned the hosts with a rapid response, Jeffrey Schlupp finding and instant equaliser and then Townsend firing them ahead.

The ball dropped towards Townsend as City failed to clear a set-piece effectively and he caught it sweetly with his left foot.

Townsend said: "Having watched it back it's probably the cleanest strike of my career and probably the best. It sat up nicely for me and as soon as it left my foot I knew it had a chance."

The visitors added a third with a Luka Milivojevic penalty and held on despite Kevin De Bruyne's fortuitous late reply.

Palace had lost five of their previous six away games but victory came after last week's home victory over Leicester and lifted them to 14th in the Premier League.

Townsend said: "First and foremost we can't get carried away. We have had results like this in the past and then in the next game we have lost.

"We have to start thinking about Cardiff and following this performance up with another three points or else this result means nothing."

It was Palace's first away victory over City since 1990 and came after 5-0 thrashings in each of their last two visits to the Etihad Stadium.

Coming after defeats in five of their last six away games it was completely unexpected and, naturally, boss Hodgson was delighted.

He did concede, however, it was still not his favourite win at City from a personal point of view. That remains the occasion in 2008 when his Fulham side recovered from 2-0 down to win and kickstart a remarkable relegation escape.

Hodgson said: "It ranks very highly but it still doesn't rate as highly as the one, many years ago, that kept Fulham in with a shout of staying in the Premier League.

"At 2-0 at half-time, had that result stayed, we were relegated. Even if we'd pulled it back to 2-2 we were relegated. We won the game 3-2 - a deja vu situation like this, and then went on to take 12 from the last 15 to keep us up.

"I suppose that will also be foremost in my memory but I must say the Manchester City we beat then weren't anywhere near as good as the team we beat here."

The result leaves City trailing leaders Liverpool by four points but Hodgson expects they will quickly recover.

Hodgson, a former Liverpool manager, said: "Pep Guardiola is a very intelligent guy. They haven't caught up those four points but he knows there are 20 matches left to play and one of those is going to be against Liverpool.

"I don't think he will be concerned about that and he'll know that no matter how Liverpool play, they will come against a game like this.

"They will go somewhere and someone will beat them against the odds. Someone will upset them. There is a long way to go yet."

City's Fabian Delph admitted the shock loss was a huge blow - but isn't reaching for the panic button.

"It's a massive setback but at the end of the day it's a very long season," said England international Delph.

"We're not focused on Liverpool or on any team other than ourselves.

"I felt we were in control for the whole game but they've scored two world-class goals, and you have to take your hat off to that - they are not goals you see every day, so fair play to them.

"We will always analyse every performance and see what we could have done better in different areas of the pitch, but with those two goals there is nothing you can do.

"We look at ourselves and we had chances. We stayed in control, stayed calm, but came up short."

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