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Football match report: John Stones Opens account in EPL; Manchester City drub Crystal Palace 4-0

10:43 PM Jan 18, 2021 | Associated Press

Manchester

John Stones scored his first Premier League goals for Manchester City in a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace to help his team leap up to second in the Premier League.

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The defender netted twice and Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling also scored fine goals as City claimed a fifth successive win by overpowering a Palace side missing Wilfried Zaha at the Etihad Stadium.

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City moved above Liverpool after the champions drew 0-0 with Manchester United, which has played a game more than its neighbour.

After taking time to warm up, City began to threaten midway through the first half as Kevin De Bruyne had a curling effort deflected wide. Sterling, Gundogan and De Bruyne then all had powerful efforts blocked in quick succession following the resulting corner.

The opening goal came after some De Bruyne brilliance in the 26th minute. The Belgian brilliantly controlled a cross-field pass from Sterling on the left and instinctively curled a cross into the area with the outside of his right boot.

Stones, in his fifth season at City, read it perfectly and rose to head home his first of the night. He temporarily forgot the new protocols regarding goal celebrations as he ran off toward the corner flag and accepted a hug from Ruben Dias and Gabriel Jesus. Palace is 13th in the 20-team standings.

Milan stun Juve

Milan: Juventus' nine-year stranglehold on the Serie A title was at risk of unraveling after a 2-0 loss at Inter Milan. Nicolò Barella scored one goal and set up another for former Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal as Inter moved level on points with city rival AC Milan atop the table. Juventus, which has won the Italian league every season since 2011-12, was left in fifth place and seven points behind the leaders - and the deficit could stretch to 10 points if Milan wins at Cagliari on Monday.

Napoli in rampage

Lorenzo Insigne scored two and set up another as a stunning first-half performance saw Napoli blow Fiorentina away, winning 6-0 to move into the top four. Napoli moved third, six points behind the leaders.

Messi sees red

Lionel Messi lost his cool after another Barcelona collapse, hitting an opponent away from the ball and being sent off for the first time while playing with the Catalan club in the team's 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Spanish Super Cup. Iñaki Williams' goal in extra time gave Athletic the lead and a come-from-behind win. Barcelona had little chance of recovering when Messi swung his right arm toward the head of an Athletic player while trying to free himself. Messi was shown the red card following a video review.

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