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City slips again in Premiership title race

Friday, April 18, 2014

LONDON - Manchester City has slipped further out of Premier League title contention as they were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom side Sunderland.

They even needed an 88th-minute equaliser from Samir Nasri to secure a point that leaves them six behind leaders Liverpool — and four behind Chelsea — with a game in hand.

Everton, meanwhile, suffered a shock home defeat, going down 3-2 to Crystal Palace to hand the initiative in the race for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot to Arsenal.

Roberto Martinez's side trail Arsenal by a point with four games of the season remaining as the Gunners beat West 3-1 on Tuesday.

It took City just two minutes to open the scoring at the Etihad, Lee Cattermole conceding possession cheaply, and Alvaro Negredo dummying Sergio Aguero's pass for Fernandinho to fire home.

City were far from their best, though, and, with 17 minutes remaining, Connor Whickham turned in Emanuele Giaccherini's cross to level.

The same combination created a improbable second 10 minutes later, Giaccherini breaking at pace and laying in Whickham, who beat Joe Hart at his near post.

But City fought back to level, Nasri squeezing a shot under Vito Mannone with two minutes remaining.

Jason Puncheon was the star of Palace's victory. Tim Howard pushed out a Yannick Bolasie cross to Marouane Chamakh.

He laid the ball off for Puncheon, who curled home a precise finish.

Scott Dann headed in a corner after 49 minutes to double Palace's lead.

Everton pulled one back 12 minutes later. But after 73 minutes, Palace restored the two-goal margin, Puncheon finding Cameron Jerome, who scored with a powerful right-foot shot.

Mirallas brought it back to 3-2 late on, but Palace held out.

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