Crystal Palace played some superb attacking football but was made to fight for the three points against Brighton and Hove Albion in Saturday’s five-goal thriller at Selhurst Park.
- Crystal Palace 3 Brighton 2
- Zaha gets first and Tomkins hits second
- Murray pulls one back but Zaha secures brace
- Izquierdo strikes Brighton’s second
- Hennessey produces fine saves
Palace started well and took a 2-0 lead through Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins though Glenn Murray pulled one back. Not long afterwards, Zaha completed his brace.
Jose Izquierdo got Brighton’s second though the Eagles were indebted to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the second half as they hung on for the victory.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) April 14, 2018
The game was played at a frenetic pace with the action switching quickly end-to-end at times, though it was Palace who took the lead in the fifth minute. From a well-worked short corner, Luka Milivojevic drove into the box and fired a strike on target from an acute angle.
Mathew Ryan got a hand to the ball but it dropped to Zaha who tapped home on the line. Palace was pouring forward in attack with Zaha looking particularly lively, and in the 14th minute, they doubled their advantage.
From a goal-mouth scramble, Ryan made two good saves but defender Tomkins was on hand to steer the rebound in for the second. Incredibly, four minutes later it was 2-1 as from a corner from the right Lewis Dunk rose highest to put a header on target.
Glenn Murray showed his predatory instincts to get in front of Hennessey before poking the ball home off the underside of the crossbar. Nonetheless, the unbelievable goal rush continued in the 24th minute as Milivojevic found space on the right and sent in a superb cross for Zaha to complete his brace with an excellent header at the far post.
Just after the half-an-hour mark, Brighton was back in the contest as Izquierdo broke in behind right-back Joel Ward from Jurgen Locadia’s pass, and he curled home a superb effort into the far corner beyond Hennessey.
Just before the break, Dale Stephens came close on more than once occasion to receiving a second yellow card but ultimately escaped sanction by referee Andre Marriner.
After the interval, Brighton was the better team as the Eagles lost all their momentum in attack. In the 61st minute, the lively Murray drilled a low shot across goal which flew just wide of the far post.
Roy Hodgson’s men had gone into their shell and soon it was Hennessey again to the rescue as he raced off his line to deny Izquierdo to block with his legs before Patrick van Aanholt’s poor clearance landed at the feet of Murray, who saw his shot brilliantly blocked by Mamadou Sakho.
Chris Hughton’s men were threatening and in the 82nd minute, Palace was again indebted to their keeper as he got down to his right to make a fantastic stop from Stephen’s dipping effort.
At the death, Murray missed a sitter from close range when he miscued his volley from close range as the home team breathed a sigh of relief and collected all three points.