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Match Reports

Palace go down 2-0 to Spurs in the new stadium

3 April 2019

Palace fell 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in their new stadium with goals from Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen.

The smoke from the elaborate opening pre-match firework display had barely settled before Vicente Guaita picked up where he left off at Selhurst Park on Saturday, comfortably collecting a Dele Alli header.

From the resulting passage of play from Guaita’s distribution, the Eagles registered their first chance with Jeffrey Schlupp picking up a delightfully weighted lofted ball from Luka Milivojevic, but the Ghanaian international blazed over despite breaking the Spurs defensive line.

Spurs began to probe and press and in the 10th minute, Heung-Min Son, try as he might, couldn’t find a way through the Palace defence, as the South Korean international scuttled across the Eagles’ penalty box trying to work an opening – eventually, Son gave up and teed up Christian Eriksen but the Dane’s shot pea-rolled past an unfazed Guaita for a goal kick.

Patrick van Aanholt was the next player to stop Spurs from opening their goal account in the new stadium, with the Dutchman sprinting across from left-back to block Eriksen’s effort from 20 yards out in the centre of Guaita’s goal.

Spurs clearly wanted an early goal within the opening 20 minutes, however, a resolute, compact and well-organised Roy Hodgson side were intercepting the ball time and time again, much to the Lilywhites faithful’s growing frustration.

Next to try and break down the Eagles resilience was Kieran Trippier who worked his way into the penalty box, before finding Eriksen, unmarked, in the box, eight-yards out. But just like the Terriers found on Saturday, it isn’t easy getting past Palace’s No.1, and Guaita reacted sharply to get down to his right-hand side before Martin Kelly fully cleared the danger.

Spurs continued to probe and with 21 minutes on the clock they almost took the lead in the luckiest of circumstances: a lofted ball over the top of Palace’s defensive line from Dele Alli was intended for Eriksen – who continued to find himself in goalscoring positions in the opening half of the first half – however, the England international’s ball just evaded the running Dane and flew narrowly past the Crystal Palace post, much to the relief of the vocal red and blue section of the stadium.

Spurs were now camped inside the Palace half and their latest chance came when Milivojevic fouled Alli right outside the penalty box. However, from the resulting free-kick, Michy Batshuayi headed away well from inside the wall.

The first historical stat for the annals arrived in the 28th minute when Alli exacted revenge on Palace’s captain for the foul moments ago, with referee Andre Mariner dishing out the first yellow card in the new stadium to the Englishman.

Almost 10 minutes passed until the next real moment of note in the game, with Son forcing Guaita to edge the ball round his post for a corner.

James Tomkins was the next in a long line of Palace players digging deep to thwart Spurs taking the lead with the centre-back sprinting across in the 42nd minute to close down Danny Rose as his fellow countryman was readying himself to take aim in the box.

Kane rose highest a minute later from a corner with the striker’s header going wide, again an attempt that Palace’s man between the sticks had covered all the way.

The second half started the same as the first 45 went with Trippier and Son sending speculative efforts over inside the first few minutes.

When 51 minutes arrived it almost saw the Eagles take the lead via the inside of Batshuayi’s right foot, with the Belgian breaking the offside trap, bringing the ball down delicately onto his chest before cutting inside Trippier and sending the ball just wide from outside the box.

As the Spurs fans began to get restless, Kane thought he’d managed to work space inside the box, but just as the South Stand rose behind the goal the Englishman was facing, Kelly put an end to any potential celebrations with a solid block on 53 minutes.

Eventually, 55 minutes of Lilywhites probing finally came to fruition with Son finding himself one-on-one with Tomkins, before cutting inside the defender, taking it away from the rushing back Cheikhou Kouyaté, and the resulting shot from the South Korean deflected, unfortunately, into the back of Guaita’s net.

With Palace now looking to draw level and pushing up, Spurs almost made the south Londoners pay when Kane went clean through, however, Spurs' top scorer this season curled his effort high and wide.

Son looked to double his and Spurs' tally in the 73rd minute, however, despite having plenty of time the Tottenham forward's effort lacked pace and precision and tamely found Guaita in the centre of his goal.

As Palace looked to maintain their 100% record in wearing their home kit in away games this season, Hodgson sent Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke out to warm up - Townsend was the first of the aforementioned duo to enter the pitch against his former club, replacing Schlupp in the 79th minute.

A minute later, however, Palace found themselves 2-0 down as Kane bundled his way through the penalty area and after a couple of falls and blocks, the ball found its way to Eriksen who smashed home from close range.

Palace pushed to find a way back into the game and two chances in quick succession almost gave the Eagles something to cheer about. Firstly, Van Aanholt saw his cross-cum-shot almost deceive Hugo Lloris, before Christian Benteke headed wide from yards out moments later.

Next up to try and give Palace a lifeline was Wilfried Zaha with the Ivorian going on a trademark mazy dance through the Spurs penalty area and drawing a fine close-range save from Lloris.

Despite a flurry of opportunities in the final stages it wasn't meant to be for Palace with Spurs winning 2-0.

Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Rose (Winks 69), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son Heung-Min (Wanyama 90), Kane, Sissoko, Alli (Moura 82), Eriksen, Davies.

Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Sánchez, Walker-Peters, Foyth.

Palace: Guaita, Van Aanholt, Kelly, Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka, McArthur, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Zaha, Schlupp (Townsend 79), Batshuayi (Benteke 82)

Subs not used: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Meyer, Ayew.


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