City were behind with just five minutes on the clock with a goal that was largely self-inflicted as Aymeric Laporte carried the ball towards the halfway line – but his attempt to play a short pass to Ruben Dias allowed Conor Gallagher to nip in, he fed Wilfried Zaha and his scuffed shot from 15 yards found the bottom right corner.
It was the first home goal City had conceded this season and it’s fair to say it stunned the Etihad into silence.
With one or two stern challenges made, it was proving a tough physical contest as City attempted to find a way back into the game.
Palace’s timewasting antics were also riling the already frustrated home support, particularly as the visitors were defending deep inside their own half.
With a number of uncharacteristic, misplaced passes leaving Pep Guardiola shaking his head at times, it was clear the half-time whistle couldn’t come quick enough for the below-par champions.
But City’s afternoon was about to get worse in first-half added time as Laporte was adjudged to have denied Zaha a goal-scoring opportunity and was shown a straight red card – despite Zaha being a long way from goal.
As tempers boiled over in the seconds that remained, Gabriel Jesus and Zaha had to be separated as their on-going in-game feud continued.
Now with just 10 men, City faced an even tougher task to turn the game around.
With a formation change needed, City switched to three at the back and could have been level four minutes after the restart as Jack Grealish teed up Rodrigo who whipped his shot over the bar from 10 yards out.
Seconds later, City had the ball in the net as Phil Foden’s brilliant control and cross was turned in by Jesus at the far post – only for VAR to judge Foden to have been a fraction offside – it felt incredibly harsh.
City, driven on by Foden, Jesus and Grealish’s dynamism, continued to take the game to Palace, with a sense of injustice palpable from the home support as the minutes ticked down.
But it was the visitors who scored the next goal, Conor Gallagher converting via the post after a swift counter-attack.