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Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City

28 April 2018

Palace put in a five star performance to move towards touching distance of safety by thrashing 10-man Leicester City at Selhurst Park to record their biggest ever Premier League victory in the process.

The Eagles found themselves two ahead at the break as Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur combined to get each other on the scoresheet, before the Foxes were reduced to 10 men when Marc Albrighton pulled back Zaha when he was clear on goal.

Following that, it was a matter of how many Roy Hodgson’s team wanted to score, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Patrick van Aanholt added late goals, before Christian Benteke rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot to haul the Eagles to 38 points, and take a huge step towards extending their stay in the Premier League to a sixth season.

They were nearly gifted the opener after eight minutes when Yohan Cabaye swung a corner into the box and Ben Hamer attempted to punch it to safety, however the ball spun backwards off his fist allowing James Tomkins to head towards goal, but Kelechi Iheanacho was on the line to clear.

Having come so close to grabbing the opening goal, seven minutes later the hosts were indebted to Joel Ward for keeping them level. Iheanacho slipped in Jamie Vardy and the England hitman arrowed a shot past Wayne Hennessey, but fortunately for the Eagles Ward had rushed back and provided an excellent goalline clearance of his own.

And that proved crucial as on 17 minutes, Hodgson’s team took the lead thanks to a wonderfully crafted team goal. Loftus-Cheek waltzed past a couple of Foxes players on the left touchline and combined with the overlapping Van Aanholt to surge towards the box. The ball was then fed to Cabaye who knocked it onto McArthur, and the Scotsman backheeled to Zaha who drove the ball high past Hamer to score his eighth of the campaign.

He nearly made it nine just before the half-hour mark when Wes Morgan botched a clearance straight to Zaha who instinctively stabbed it towards the bottom corner, but this time Hamer was able to push it around his post to safety, but on 38 minutes he turned provider to double the Eagles’ advantage.

Van Aanholt began the move on the left and found Zaha inside the box and he fed the ball across it for McArthur, who took a touch before swivelling and firing into the net past the outstretched Hamer to net his first goal since January.

That gave Palace a commanding lead at the break, and 10 minutes after the restart Leicester's chances of getting something from the game were made even harder when Zaha chased a ball over the top towards goal and Albrighton hauled him down, handing Mike Dean no option but to reduce the Foxes to 10 men.

After that it looked as though it would only be Palace adding to the scoreline, and after some more brilliant, intricate build-up play, McArthur had another sight of goal and attempted to clip the ball over Hamer but found the side-netting, and Andros Townsend whipped a free-kick wide of the far post soon after as the men in red and blue tried to seal the victory.

And with eight minutes remaining, they did just that. Mamadou Sakho broke up a Leicester attack and sauntered forward over the halfway line before slotting in Loftus-Cheek, who capped an excellent display by rounding Hamer and tapping into the net, which would have impressed the watching Gareth Southgate.

Jeffrey Schlupp was then introduced off the bench and he played a part in rubbing salt into his former club’s wound as the Eagles added a fourth on 85 minutes. This time it was Zaha sending Schlupp through on goal, and after the Ghanaian shot straight at the keeper, another former Fox in Van Aanholt was in the perfect place to curl the ball into the unguarded net.

The icing was put on the cake for Hodgson’s team in the final minute when Benteke was brought down inside the box by Harry Maguire, and Luka Milivojevic stepped aside to let the Belgian take the penalty. Roared on by the Holmesdale Road End, the striker slipped as he took it, but it flew past Hamer to register his first goal in SE25 since last May, making it a perfect day for the unbeaten in four Eagles.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur (Schlupp 83), Milivojevic, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek (Lee 87), Townsend (Benteke 87), Zaha. Subs not used: Speroni, Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Sørloth.

Leicester: Hamer, Albrighton, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Choudhury (Silva 46), Ndidi (Dragovic 50), Gray, Ihenacho (Diabate 46), Vardy. Subs not used: Jakupovic, Simpson, Fuchs, Barnes.

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