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Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 4-1 Toulouse

4 August 2018

Palace recorded another emphatic friendly victory at the expense of Toulouse in their final fixture before the Premier League campaign gets underway next week.

A goal-filled first 45 saw Aaron Leya Iseka give Toulouse an early lead, but strikes from Christian Benteke and Jeffrey Schlupp turned things around before skipper Luka Milivojevic added a third from the penalty spot to put Roy Hodgson’s team in control.

Late in the second half Wilfried Zaha crashed home a fourth to end pre-season on a high, with Palace netting 19 goals in their five pre-season fixtures as they head confidently into their league opener against Fulham next week.

The visitors started in the ascendancy and early on ex-Leicester City man Max Gradel flashed a shot wide before John Bostock fired straight at Vicente Guaita, on what was his first appearance back at Selhurst Park since departing in 2008.

Those warning shots weren’t learnt from, and 10 minutes in the Frenchmen took the lead. Once again, a powerful strike from Gradel caused Palace issues and Guaita had to get down low to save it, however Aaron Leya Iseka tucked home the rebound to kick-off a goal-packed first half.

Gradel had a third try soon after and once again Palace’s new shot-stopper was kept busy as Guaita saved again, but the Eagles finally got going on 15 minutes and Benteke seemed guaranteed to score when he headed goalwards but Baptiste Reynet pulled off a magnificent save to deny the Belgian, before tipping over a header from the same player following the resulting corner.

Slowly but surely Palace moved through the gears and on 26 minutes they forced the ball into the net when Zaha had a shot on the turn which struck the base of the far post and caused panic, but by the time James Tomkins finally scrambled the ball home the linesman was already flagging for offside.

But on 26 minutes they made their pressure count. On his first start of pre-season, Milivojevic sent a high corner into the area and Benteke leapt above the defence and headed into the bottom corner to score his second of the summer.

And then seven minutes later, Hodgson’s team turned the game on its head and found themselves ahead. Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt linked up on the left side and the full-back slid in Schlupp, who turned well inside the box and sent an arrow of a shot into the far corner to score his first Selhurst Park goal.

Now firmly in control of proceedings, Palace pressed for a third and they got it on 38 minutes. A revitalised Benteke picked the ball up inside the centre circle and drove forward before timing his pass to perfection to allow Andros Townsend to advance into a threatening position. The winger was brought down in the box for a stone-wall penalty, which Milivojevic drove past Reynet to etch his name onto the scoresheet for the first time this pre-season.

The half-time whistle came at the wrong time for a purring Palace, but they continued in the same vein following the restart and Zaha’s twinkle toes nearly brought him a goal when the wriggled his way towards goal before shooting wide, and after Benteke’s aerial ability saw him nod wide, Guaita was required to beat away an attempt by Iseka after he broke through on the hour mark.

As one of only two outfield players on the pitch at that time who had yet to net during pre-season, Townsend nearly did so when he fired goalwards and Reynet flung himself across his goal to keep his team in the game, but as so many pre-season friendlies do, the game petered out in the second half due to a number of substitutions puncturing the flow.

One of those saw Cheikhou Kouyate make his Eagles bow with 17 minutes remaining, and then nine minutes later Palace completed the scoring to record another emphatic pre-season victory.

James McArthur received the ball on the edge of the area and stabbed it through to Zaha, who flashed a shot high into the net to score his fourth of an impressive pre-season, and send the majority of the 9,257 fans home happy and hungry for the new season to get underway.

Palace: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka (Ward 63), Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt (Souare 83), Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur (Williams 88), Schlupp (Kouyate 73), Zaha (Kaikai 82), Benteke (Sørloth 82). Subs not used: Speroni, Kelly, Puncheon, Wickham.

Toulouse: Reynet, Michelin (Fortes 68), Jullien, Moubandje (Sangere 64), Amian, Cahuzac (Dossevi 64), Bostock, Garcia (Bodiger 70), Jean (Sylla 64), Gradel (Sanogo 73), Iseka. Subs not used: Goicoechea, Todibo.

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