Manchester City failed to restore their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League as they somehow played out a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
Pep Guardiola’s men created plenty of chances at Selhurst Park, with a thunderous effort from Joao Cancelo crashing into the post in the first half, while Kevin De Bruyne hit the post in the second.
Bernardo Silva was guilty of inflating his lines twice, the most important of which saw him fail to connect completely with a cross from the right from close range.
On another night, Riyad Mahrez could have scored three goals, his best chance coming moments after De Bruyne hit the post with Vicente Guaita resuming his training brilliantly.
Palace were on the back foot in the game but put on a lot of spectacle after coming close a few times.
However, City will wonder how they failed to claim all three points, with the result giving Liverpool a chance to close the gap on them to just one point.
The game also sees City achieve an unwanted feat of hitting the woodwork 19 times this season, more than any other Premier League side.
The Eagles may go winless at home since beating Norwich in December, but it will look like a win for Patrick Vieira, who also orchestrated a 2-0 success in the reverse game.
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Despite all their possession, City created a few problems on their own, with Aymeric Laporte being stripped by Conor Gallagher before the visitors relinquished possession again, leading to a Michael Olise shot wide wide at the far post.
The city was almost there soon after. Vicente Guaita reversed a Kevin De Bruyne strike, only for Bernardo Silva to attempt to drive past the Palace keeper from the rebound but instead knock the ball out of play.
Palace were still in the fight as Jean-Philippe Mateta broke behind City’s backline and saw his shot deflected behind.
John Stones hit a long-range effort at the other end which was also blocked for a corner, Palace escaping from the free-kick with Olise and Mateta combining only for the latter to slip as he tried for a shot .
City were now turning the screw, Joao Cancelo hitting the post from long range, before Laporte hit the rebound high and wide with the gaping goal. However, the French defender’s blushes would likely have been spared as he was in an offside position.
Riyad Mahrez, with 13 goals in his last 17 games, was the next to let a great chance slip away, firing straight at Guaita when an effort elsewhere would have broken the deadlock.
The Algerian moved closer again, flexing a bit more in the final minute of a first half that somehow ended scoreless.
Cheikhou Kouyate couldn’t make any meaningful contact with a header just six yards from Ederson’s goal as the second half got off to a similar start.
Palace’s aim was to live an enchanted life, with De Bruyne hitting inside a post and Mahrez following up brilliantly saved by a recovering Guaita.
Despite all their chances, City began to struggle as Palace held on – even as their counter-attacking opportunities dwindled.
Bernardo failed to make contact with a Jack Grealish cross from just four yards out, with Guardiola motionless and his substitutes still warming up along the touchline.
Palace were starting to tire but their resolute performance kept them in the competition as the game entered the closing stages.
Despite this, substitute Odsonne Edouard escaped but could only shoot in the legs of a defender while Wilfried Zaha pricked Ederson’s palms.
City were unable to score a late goal, Laporte unable to return a free-kick before an incident at the other end nearly left Gallagher.
The result means the title race is now well prepared, with Liverpool next to claim their position when they visit the capital in less than 48 hours.
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