Yaya Toure marked his shock return to the Manchester City team with two goals as his side grabbed a dramatic late win at Crystal Palace.
Toure, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, combined with Nolito before firing City ahead.
Palace’s pressure paid off when Wilfried Zaha set up substitute Connor Wickham to smash home a second-half equaliser.
But Toure, who has not figured at all for City for almost three months, had the final word when he turned home Kevin de Bruyne’s corner from close range.
The win moves City second in the table, level on points with leaders Liverpool and with an identical goal difference.
Palace, who suffered their fifth straight league defeat, remain one point above the relegation zone.
Toure back with a bang
Yaya Toure’s team-mates surrounded him at the final whistle to show their appreciation for his efforts, while the travelling City fans had been singing his name virtually all afternoon.
The 33-year-old Ivorian has been out in the cold at City since the end of August, with his manager Pep Guardiola saying he would not be picked until his agent, Dimitri Seluk, apologised for comments about his treatment.
Toure, rather than Seluk, issued a statement about the situation at the start of November. But that evidently satisfied Guardiola and Toure marked his return to favour in style.
Few people knew he had even travelled to Selhurst Park, so seeing his name on the team sheet at all was a huge surprise.
But Toure’s lack of recent action did not affect his finishing power and, as so often before in his six years at City, he secured a vital victory.
Palace beaten again
Palace went into the game with the worst points-per-game record of any team in the top four divisions in 2016 – just 0.73 – and defeat means their current crisis continues.
The Eagles caused City plenty of problems, notably with their pressing game and lightning-fast breaks down the wings.
But even when they were putting Pep Guardiola’s side under pressure in the second half, Palace looked vulnerable and were ultimately punished for their lack of organisation at the back as they looked to see the game out.
Palace are full of ideas when they come forward but they have failed to keep a single clean sheet in the league this season.
At the moment, their attacking prowess is being undermined by the amount of goals they are leaking.