Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick as Manchester City came from two goals down at half-time to beat Crystal Palace.
It seemed as though Palace’s strange hex over Pep Guardiola would continue after a John Stones own goal and Joachim Andersen’s header from an Eberechi Eze corner sent the visitors into an unlikely lead.
But Bernardo Silva kickstarted City’s revival with a deflected effort, before Haaland converted a 19-minute second-half hat-trick with a header, a tap-in and a fine finish when put through.
Patrick Vieira was forced to name a starting 11 without Wilfried Zaha – on the scoresheet here last season – due to injury, but the absence of their talisman did not prevent Palace from storming into an early lead as Eze’s free-kick struck both Kyle Walker and Stones as it spun into the net.
Things got worse for City in the 22nd minute as they were again undone from a set-piece. It was Eze again with a corner from which Andersen was left unmarked to power in a header.
City struggled to muster any response against a well-organised Palace side who pressed the ball in numbers, nipping at City’s heels to deny them time and space on the ball, the home side’s frustration growing as the half went on and the time needed for each of Vicente Guaita’s goal kicks increased.
Palace should arguably have been 3-0 up after 28 minutes. Ederson saved a shot from Cheick Doucoure and then tried to roll the ball out. Odsonne Edouard deflected it to Ayew who promptly found the bottom corner, but referee Darren England signalled for a free-kick, though the goalkeeper was not impeded.
Haaland had headed over from a Riyad Mahrez corner before Palace’s second goal and he fired into the side-netting from a tight angle after the second, but found his supply lines restricted by the visiting defence.
Guardiola had been planning two substitutions early in the second half with Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez both stripped and ready to go, but they sat back down after Silva got City back into it in the 53rd minute.
The Portugal international once again showed why Guardiola this week ruled out the possibility of him leaving as he cut in from the right before hitting a low shot which deflected off Jeffrey Schlupp on its way in.
Gundogan and Alvarez did come on just after the hour and Alvarez quickly made an impact as City levelled in the 62nd minute.
He flicked on a deep cross to Foden, who chipped the ball back in for Haaland, who got across Marc Guehi to head in his first Etihad goal.
Eight minutes later he had his second. From a short corner, Alvarez fed Silva who pulled the ball back for Stones and he rolled it across for Haaland to poke home from all of a yard.
And he sealed his hat-trick with 10 minutes to go. Silva’s through-ball found his run perfectly, and the Norwegian had the strength to hold off Joel Ward before firing into the bottom corner.
It would be his final contribution as Sergio Gomez, on to make his City debut, replaced him to the sound of a thunderous roar around the ground.
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