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First Team

Hodgson On Penalty Taker Incident

9 December 2017

After seeing two points slip from his grasp due to Christian Benteke’s last-minute missed penalty, Eagles boss Roy Hodgson wasn’t sure why the Belgian took the kick ahead of usual taker Luka Milivojevic.

A topsy-turvy clash saw Jermain Defoe open the scoring before Milivojevic’s spot-kick levelled things up, and Palace briefly found themselves in front when Scott Dann scored for the fourth successive game against the Cherries.

However, a fabulous strike by Defoe in first half stoppage-time sent the teams into the break at 2-2, but late drama at the end of the second 45 saw Benteke’s attempt from 12 yards saved by Asmir Begovic, and Hodgson revealed that his striker was left “stunned and shocked” post-match.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he talked about a number of issues, including:

Benteke taking penalty: “I’m not sure. I expected Luka to take it as he is our designated penalty taker but for some reason Christian persuaded him that it should be him, and he missed it. I think he’s been told that he’s not to take penalties already. After missing one that deprived us of two very valuable and deserved points, I can’t imagining him racing up to the ball to take one next time.

“He’s stunned, shocked and very disappointed but I must add that I think he played well, and I think it’s the best he’s played since I’ve been here. His hold-up play and flick-ons were good so it’s a great disappointment that he couldn’t crown that performance with a goal, and rather than that he’s put himself in a  bit of a black hole as far as the Palace support is concerned as they expected him to score.”

Fan reaction post-match: “The reason he [Benteke] was booed off at the end of the game is obvious because the fans, having seen us work as hard as we did second half and create chances and the referee give a penalty with two minutes to go, they think ‘here we go, we’ve won it. When the guy who takes the penalty misses it, I’m afraid you’ll have to accept they’ll be booed off the field – that’s not just Crystal Palace, that’s anywhere around the world.”

Were they penalties: “Yes, because the referee gave them, and when you’re in the penalty area as often as we were in the 90 minutes, it’s not terribly surprising that a penalty or two are given, and apart from the two that he did give, we were actually appealing for several others.”

Altercation with fan post-match: “There was no altercation – the fan tried to ask me a question and I answered it, which was a valid one – why did I tell Benteke to take the last penalty? I replied that I didn’t.”

Assessment of the game: “We were good throughout and our attacking play was outstanding. I thought Zaha was out of this world today with Ruben Loftus-Cheek not far behind, and we created enough chances and moments in the game to score half a dozen goals.

“The goals we conceded - the second one was a soft one by our stands, and the first one shouldn’t have been allowed as one of our defenders [Jeffrey Schlupp] was held so Defoe could get free and score the goal.”

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