Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Leicester City
Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Leicester City. Crystal Palace snatched victory over fellow strugglers Leicester City as Jean-Philippe Mateta scored deep into stoppage time in Roy Hodgson’s first game since returning as manager.
Palace were dominant and recorded 20 shots by the break – the most in a Premier League half by any side since 2015 – but struggled to make a breakthrough.
They were made to pay for their wastefulness shortly into the second half when substitute Ricardo Pereira unleashed a well-struck effort after being teed up by Timothy Castagne.
But Leicester’s lead was short-lived as Palace equalised only three minutes later when Eberechi Eze’s free-kick hit the crossbar and deflected in off goalkeeper Daniel Iversen’s back.
Palace captain Wilfried Zaha was forced off in the first half after pulling up with a groin injury.
The hosts won in dramatic fashion as Mateta turned his marker before slotting a low Jordan Ayew ball past Iversen.
Palace now sit five points clear of the drop zone in 12th, with Leicester one point adrift of safety in 18th.
Hodgson has made an instant impact since returning to Selhurst Park last week.
Palace had failed to win a Premier League game since New Year’s Eve and have struggled for goals this season, scoring the fewest of any side going into the game.
They were dominant in the first half and came closest as Cheick Doucoure forced Iversen into a goalline stop to deny the hosts early on.
The frontline of Eze, Zaha and Michael Olise regularly posed problems for the Leicester defence as Palace attacked at their slickest.
Zaha’s injury took the wind out of their sails, but Palace fought back valiantly.
With games against five of the Premier League’s bottom six to come in their final ten fixtures, Palace’s newfound energy under Hodgson could be crucial.
Leicester missed the chance to move out of the Premier League relegation zone, falling short in the final minute.
They tested the hosts on occasion, but Palace were dominant with 31 attempts on goal compared with Leicester’s three.
The Foxes came close to snatching the first goal against the run of play when Victor Kristiansen’s cross rattled the far post but Marc Guehi cleared the danger.
Pereira’s goal halted Palace’s progress, but the visitors failed to recover after the rapid equaliser.
Leicester are now winless in their past six matches, with ten games remaining to secure their Premier League status – including against fellow strugglers Leeds, West Ham, Wolves, Bournemouth and Everton.
source – BBC