BY SAM SMITH
A wonderful Luka Milivojevic free-kick was not enough for Crystal Palace as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City at Selhurst Park, earned courtesy of a Raheem Sterling brace and a late Gabriel Jesus strike.
Sterling incredibly missed the target from six yards out as the visitors asserted their dominance on the game early on, but soon made up for his error when he raced through on goal to round off a City counter attack on 15 minutes.
The Eagles scarcely advanced forward in the first half, but even when they did they over-complicated things.
Milivojevic had an opportunity to shoot but opted instead to lift the ball up to Benteke whose knock-down was intercepted by Ilkay Gundogan. Wilfried Zaha then attempted to take on the City back four three times over before any opportunity to shoot quickly disappeared.
Pep Guardiola’s side settled for a lead by just the one goal at half-time but should have been ahead by more.
Sergio Aguero had fired over before Vicente Guaita made a good stop to deny Leroy Sane.
Kevin de Bruyne somehow failed to convert from close range just prior to the break.
But none of those misses mattered. Palace showed little attempt to find an equaliser and were soon two behind when Sterling guided Sane’s cross into the corner.
The frustrating thing was that Palace began to create chances after the England man’s second goal.
Benteke forced Ederson into a good save, and Roy Hodgson’s side reduced the deficit when Milivojevic struck an excellent free-kick into the bottom corner.
But it was too little, too late. The visitors proceeded to grab a third on the counter attack with De Bruyne feeding substitute Gabriel Jesus, and although he appeared marginally offside the Brazilian tucked beyond Guaita.