BY MATT WOOSNAM
Roy Hodgson hailed a “bonanza” afternoon after watching his Crystal Palace side stun reigning champions Manchester City.
The Eagles held on for a 3-2 victory on Saturday despite some late home pressure.
Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring with a header before Jeffrey Schlupp equalised soon after. Then Andros Townsend belted a stunning volley from 25 yards and Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty after Max Meyer was fouled to turn the game totally on its head.
Kevin de Bruyne claimed a late consolation but the Eagles weathered the storm and clinched a famous victory in the North West.
Hodgson’s pleasure at the performance was clear and he praised his side for holding on at the end.
“I travelled up thinking we could give a good performance,” he said.
“They have such a strong team and such a strong bench, I was always aware of the quality they might have. It wasn’t a game that we wrote off, but we did think that unless we produced a performance of that discipline and work rate we didn’t have a chance.”
Despite that quality showing at times, City were unable to break down a stubborn resistance from Palace, and there was to be no capitulation despite De Bruyne’s goal.
Had Gabriel Jesus converted a header from six yards in stoppage time things would have been very different, but he could only head over Vicente Guaita’s crossbar.
“I’m not in charge of a team that folds,” Hodgson added.
“There’s games where you hope to see something a bit better, but there’s not many where I agree that our team has folded or failed to show the desire needed to win.
“Today’s one of those bonanza days where you do the right things but also score the goals. To score three goals against a team of this quality makes you wonder where they’ve been.”
The Eagles boss also had positive words for Townsend, whose sublime finish capped an excellent showing all round from the former England man.
“He almost scored with his head which would have really been the icing on the cake. He’s always got a volley in his locker but I’m pleased with the overall performance.
“We’re looking at the champions of England and conceivably the future champions of England as well. They don’t just rely on the talent of their players – they’re disciplined, they work hard and there aren’t many weaknesses.”