Erling Haaland hit his first Premier League hat-trick to inspire Manchester City’s fightback from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 4-2 on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side were rocked in the first half at the Etihad Stadium as a John Stones own goal and Joachim Andersen’s header put Palace in contention for a shock victory.
It was the fourth Premier League game in their last six in which City had fallen two goals behind.
Yet they hadn’t lost any of the previous three and won this one as well, thanks to Haaland’s heroics.
After Bernardo Silva pulled one back early in the second half, Haaland scored his first home goal for City since his £50 million ($58 million) summer move from Borussia Dortmund.
The Norway striker grabbed two more to leave Palace in tatters, taking his tally to six in his first four Premier League matches.
It was City’s second successive escape act after trailing 3-1 before drawing 3-3 at Newcastle last weekend.
The champions have been far from flawless, but a third win from their first four games lifted them to the top of the table ahead of Arsenal’s match against Fulham later on Saturday.
Palace took an early lead as Eberechi Eze’s free-kick struck both Kyle Walker and Stones as it spun into the net.
Things grew worse for City in the 22nd minute as they were again undone from a set-piece.
Eze again struck a corner from which Andersen was left unmarked to power in a header.
Palace should have been 3-0 up after 28 minutes when Ederson saved a shot from Cheick Doucoure and then tried to roll the ball out.
Odsonne Edouard deflected it to Jordan Ayew who promptly found the bottom corner, but referee Darren England signalled for a free-kick, though the goalkeeper was not impeded.
Silva got City back into it in the 53rd minute, showing why Guardiola do not want to sell the unsettled Portugal midfielder.
Cutting in from the flanks, Silva hit a low shot which deflected off Jeffrey Schlupp on its way in.
Substitute Julian Alvarez quickly made an impact as City equalised in the 62nd minute.
Alvarez flicked on a deep cross to Phil Foden, who chipped the ball back in for Haaland, who got across Marc Guehi to head home.
Haaland put City ahead eight minutes later as Alvarez fed Silva, who pulled the ball back for Stones and he rolled it across for Haaland to poke in.
Haaland sealed his hat-trick with 10 minutes to go, holding off Joel Ward before firing into the bottom corner from Silva’s pass.
Credit: THE PUNCH