London, April 7 (IANS/EFE) Manchester City appear to have thrown away any chance of repeating as Premier League champions with their 2-1 loss on Monday to a surging Crystal Palace.
The result leaves City in fourth place, nine points behind leader Chelsea, who also have a game in hand.
Despite dominating possession and creating more chances, the more-talented City side suffered their third consecutive away loss, this time to a team that was sitting in the relegation zone in January but has since taken 19 points from 10 matches.
The visitors failed to convert their dominance into goals and went into half-time down 1-0 thanks to a strike in the 34th minute by Palace’s Glenn Murray.
One of Murray’s teammates appeared to be offside and the referee’s decision to award the goal incensed City, especially captain Vincent Kompany.
Murray started the second half by picking up where he left off, drawing a foul in the area to set up a free kick by Jason Puncheon, who beat a diving Joe Hart to make it 2-0 in front of the ecstatic Palace fans at London’s Selhurst Park.
City finally got on the board in the 78th minute with Yaya Toure’s rocket from the edge of the area, but could not get the equaliser.
Instead of retaining the title, City now has to focus on finishing in the top four to ensure a berth in the 2015-2016 Champions League.
Next up for City are hated cross-town rivals Manchester United, now in third place.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, sits in 11th place with a decent chance to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time.