Late Palace comeback stuns Sunderland

Crystal Palace mounted a late comeback as they rallied from two goals down to record a dramatic 3-2 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

  • Sunderland 2 Crystal Palace 3
  • Injured Pienaar substituted in 14th minute
  • Defoe scores either side of half-time
  • King reduces the deficit
  • McArthur header levels matters
  • Benteke heads home late winner

Match summary

Sunderland looked to be heading for a much-needed victory after goals from Jermain Defoe either side of the half-time interval.

However, the Eagles didn't give up the fight and reduced the deficit just moments after Defoe had bagged his second of the game, Joe Ledley slotting home to kickstart the comeback.

James McArthur levelled matters in the 76th minute, before Christian Benteke popped up in the fourth minute of injury-time to clinch all three points on offer.

Full report

The hosts started the brighter of the two teams and were almost rewarded for their early pressing when Benteke nicked the ball off James Tomkins, but the Palace defence quickly recovered.

Benteke was in the thick of things early on and came close to breaking the deadlock when Joel Ward's inviting cross found him unmarked at the back post, but his header was directed straight at Jordan Pickford.

David Moyes was forced to re-shuffle things in the 14th minute after veteran midfielder Steven Pienaar went down with a hamstring injury. 

Pienaar's replacement, Duncan Watmore immediately made his presence felt with his direct and penetrating runs and almost found the back of the net after coming on, but goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was equal to the task.

Both teams endured a scrappy period of play on the half-hour mark, gifting possession to one another. The home team then produced a sublime passage of play which culminated in Jerman Defoe almost finding the back of the net, however his effort narrowly missed the target after some great work in the build-up by Patrick van Aanholt.

A shocking defensive display by Palace's Ledley King gifted Sunderland the opener. King attempted to play a long ball back to Damien Delaney, but overhit it, allowing Defoe to fire into an open net.

Heading into the half-time break trailing by a solitary goal, Crystal Palace would have been disappointed, having arguably been more dominant than Sunderland in the first stanza.

Palace started the second half much in the same spirit, looking threatening from the long-ball approach, with Betenke causing the Sunderland defence all sorts of problems.

Alan Pardew's side almost grabbed the equaliser, much against the run of play, when Jason Puncheon tested Jordan Pickford with a stinging effort.

Defoe grabbed his brace in the 60th minute, when he was quickest to pounce on a loose ball in the Palace area. However, a minute later Palace pulled one back, when King's deflected shot got the better of Pickford.

Palace made a number of substitutions in search of the equaliser and were rewarded in the 75th minute, James McArthur's header finding the back of the net from the centre of the box.

Pardew's charges completed a sensational comeback in the fourth minute of injury-time, as Beneteke rose above his marker to head home from Lee Chung-yong's inviting cross.