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Report: Palace 0-1 Tottenham

PUBLISHED

16:00 18th August 2013


Having waited all summer, Premier League football finally returned to Selhurst Park after an eight year absence, but unfortunately for Palace they slipped to a single goal defeat to Tottenham Hotspur despite a hard-working display.

An early second-half penalty from Roberto Soldado after a handball by Dean Moxey was the only difference between the sides as the Eagles more than matched their illustrious opponents on their return to the top-flight.

Selhurst was packed to the rafters for the occasion but it took 12 minutes for the first chance of the game. Some neat link-up play between Soldado and Aaron Lennon allowed Mousa Dembele a sight of goal, and he clipped the top of the crossbar from 25 yards with a fierce drive.

Palace were showing no nerves on their top-flight return as they kept the ball for long periods and pushed men forward, but their first opportunity came from a set-piece. Owen Garvan floated the ball into the area and Aaron Wilbraham met the ball with his head, but his attempt was straight at Hugo Lloris.

Julian Speroni was called into action on 35 minutes when Gylfi Sigurdsson let fly with a snap shot from the edge of the area and the Argentinian, making his first Premier League appearance in nearly nine years, acrobatically tipped it over the bar.

With seconds to go in the first-half Tottenham created one final chance when a deep cross from Lennon found Nacer Chadli at the back post but he couldn't steer his header on target as Palace went in at the half-time break matching their more-established Premier League counterparts.

However parity was ended just three minutes into the first-half when the visitors were given a penalty. An Aaron Lennon cross was blocked inadvertently by the arm of Moxey in the box and Soldado stepped up to send Speroni the wrong way - marking his Spurs debut with a goal and more importantly handing his side the lead.

The goal didn't seem to phase the Eagles as they continued to keep their opponents quiet and carve out chances for themselves, and Dwight Gayle saw a blast fly over the bar before Ian Holloway made a bold triple change as Kevin Phillips, Jonathan Williams and Marouane Chamakh entered the fray.

But a minute later Andre Villas-Boas's men should have killed the game off. Kyle Walker's incisive pass dissected the Palace defence and found Soldado who teed up Sigurdsson but his low effort flashed past the post with Speroni beaten, and on 79 minutes Chadli saw a similar attempt drag wide as the visitors continued their search for a second.

As time ticked away Phillips saw a speculative shot fly well wide of Lloris' goal and Damien Delaney forced the French keeper into a save when he failed to catch a Williams corner but Jermain Defoe was inches away from sealing victory when he danced through the Palace defence but once again failed to hit the target.

His miss was nearly punished in the final minute when Kagisho Dikgacoi latched onto a knock-down by Phillips but Lloris got don low to push it away, and he quickly got to a vertical base in time to save a second attempt by the South African midfielder.


Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Garvan (Phillips 65), Dobbie (Williams 65), Gayle, Wilbraham (Chamakh 65). Subs: Alexander, Marange, O'Keefe, Campana.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Rose (Kaboul 86), Vertonghen, Dawson, Lennon, Paulinho, Dembele (Capou 57), Sigurdsson, Chadli, Soldado (Defoe 83). Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Townsend, Carroll.