Manchester City's commitment to pressing persuaded Andros Townsend to smash in his goal of the season contender.
Crystal Palace claimed a shock 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium to land a telling blow against City's Premier League title defence.
Jeffrey Schlupp cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan's opener and Luka Milivojevic's penalty 10 minutes into the second half ultimately proved decisive after Kevin De Bruyne reduced the arrears late on.
But it is Townsend's sumptuous volley from 30 yards after City only partially cleared a set-piece that will live long in the memory.
"It sat up for me. I knew if I took a touch, the way Man City press the ball they would have been all over me," the Eagles forward told Sky Sports.
"I knew I had to take it first time and as soon as it left my foot I knew it had a chance."
Townsend conceded Palace had to dig in for victory against Pep Guardiola's side, making his goal all the sweeter.
"Having watched it back I think it was the best goal of my career, given the circumstances and given the opposition – probably the best side I've ever played against in my career," he added.
"They're incredible. We couldn't get near them at times. To score against these away from home makes it the best."
Palace are now six points clear of the relegation zone and manager Roy Hodgson wants to ensure they make the most of an unexpected win when they host struggling Cardiff City on Boxing Day.
"It's a good day's work and three fantastic points that we need to make certain we don't throw away by not doing the job we need to do against Cardiff," he told Sky Sports.
"We need three points from that game as well and not waste these three 'bonus' points that a lot of people didn't expect us to get today."