Kevin De Bruyne has replaced Sergio Aguero for his Manchester City debut after the Argentine striker was forced off injured in the first half of the clash between the Premier League's top two at Selhurst Park.
The hosts came into the match as City's closest competitors, three points behind Manuel Pellegrini's side, and they took the game to the former champions right from the first whistle in an end-to-end opening.
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Yannick Bolasie, starting up front for Alan Pardew's side, threatened to get in behind the visitors' defence throughout the first half after firing over the bar inside the first minute, but City flashed a warning sign when Wilfried Bony's header needed a good save from Alex McCarthy.
McCarthy then pulled off a stop to prevent Samir Nasri, preferred in midfield to British record signing De Bruyne, from opening the scoring after the Frenchman was sent through on goal.
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De Bruyne came off the bench to make his debut earlier than City would have hoped when Aguero was unable to shake off the effects of a challenge from Scott Dann.
Despite the setback, the away side came closest to scoring when Bony forced a save from McCarthy before failing to convert the rebound as the Premier League's top side continued to be frustrated.
De Bruyne settled in well after his early introduction, linking up play nicely and seeing a 20-yarder saved comfortably, but City were unable to make their chances count in the first period.