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      Report: Eze & Olise strike as Palace cut through Blades

      Crystal Palace
      Eze 17' 27'
      Olise 67'
      Sheffield United
      Brereton 1'
      McAtee 20'

      Three high-quality goals from Ebere Eze (two) and Michael Olise saw Crystal Palace secure a 3-2 win over Sheffield United in their first home Premier League match of 2024.


      • Two changes for Palace as Olise and Ayew return
      • Brereton Diaz curls visitors into the lead inside the first minute
      • Eze prods home cute Olise cross after quarter of an hour
      • McAtee immediately restores visitors’ lead with the aide of a generous deflection
      • Eze whips in a second superb equaliser from 25 yards
      • Souza clears off the line as relentless pace does not let up
      • McBurnie tests Henderson’s handling as half-time approaches
      • HT: Palace 2-2 Sheffield United
      • Sheffield United forced into early second-half substitutions
      • Mateta fires narrowly over from a tight angle
      • Olise gives Palace the lead for the first time with whipped effort from 25 yards
      • No. 7 appears to sustain injury whilst scoring
      • Eze denied hat-trick by Foderingham’s shoulder
      • Midfielder replaced shortly after in enforced change
      • Ahmedhodzic hits the bar for visitors with late flicked header
      • FT: Palace 3-2 Sheffield United

      The fixture had previously enjoyed the dubious honour of being the Premier League’s most frequently-contested in which both teams had never both scored – Palace having won five of its seven iterations with a clean sheet, and Sheffield United two.

      Yet an action-packed first-half saw the goals flow freely for both sides, Palace generally on top – and Michael Olise twice setting up Ebere Eze for two brilliant finishes – but Sheffield United equally clinical on the break, scoring through Ben Brereton Diaz and James McAtee.

      A tighter second-half ensued, but Palace pressed home their advantage when Olise’s fourth goal in his last three appearances secured an important victory.

      Going into the game, the Eagles had been bolstered by the return of wingers Olise from injury and Jordan Ayew from international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

      However, buoyed by securing a last-minute point against West Ham United last time out, it was the Blades who started with a razor-sharp edge, Ben Brereton Diaz finding space on the left and making it two goals in two appearances for his new side by curling in the most precise of low finishes into the far bottom corner.

      Just as they had done against Brentford a month prior, Palace rallied following the early concession, Ayew coming close to teeing up Michael Olise – whose effort was blocked inside the box – and then Jefferson Lerma with a header, charged down by visiting goalkeeper Ivo Grbić.

      It was a sign of things to come, and on 16 minutes, a familiar combination provided Palace’s equaliser. Once more at Selhurst Park, it was a brilliant in-swinging cross from Olise – on the right, and with minimal backlift – which created the opportunity, Eze jumping high to connect with his boot and guide the ball into the back of the net.

      Parity lasted mere moments. Oli McBurnie broke into space near the halfway line, holding off two challenges before slipping in James McAtee, whose effort took a generous deflection off the underside of Marc Guéhi’s boot and looped over Dean Henderson.

      The entertainment did not let up and, seven minutes later, Olise squared for Eze, who shaped to shoot on his right from 25 yards before checking back onto his left – and rocketing a searing effort into the top-left corner to leave Grbic grasping at thin air.

      No two players had combined more often for Palace goals since the beginning of last season than Olise and Eze – the former assisting the latter for all seven at that stage – and they nearly combined for a third time moments later.

      Palace continued to press as they looked the more threatening team overall, a deep free-kick from Ayew finding Olise unmarked at a tight angle – and the No. 7’s prod back across goal forced Vinícius Souza to clear from beneath his own crossbar, with Eze in close pursuit.

      It was only with half-an-hour on the clock that the pace of the game really settled, Palace continuing to enjoy the majority of possession against a deep-lying Sheffield United side – although McBurnie did test Henderson’s handling with a spinning half-volley not long before the whistle.

      In contrast to the free-flowing start of the first-half, the beginning of the second saw the visitors make a trio of early substitutions, with goalkeeper Grbic’s enforced after an accidental coming-together at pace with Mateta.

      It took until the hour mark for the first clear effort on goal of the half, with Jefferson Lerma this time the architect with a fine slide-rule pass for Olise. The winger’s effort across goal was well saved by substitute Wes Foderingham, before the Palace man was then ruled offside.

      It was the spark Palace needed to reignite the match, and within moments they had created another opportunity as Eze found space to play in Mateta with a slide-rule pass. The forward, holding off a challenge and on his left foot from a tight angle, blazed not far over the bar.

      That pressure finally told with a quarter of the game remaining as Mateta’s attempted cross deflected out invitingly for Olise 25 yards from goal, and with his in-step, the winger whipped a low finish into the bottom-left corner which clipped the post on its way in.

      Moments after putting Palace into the lead for the first time in the match, however, the winger sat down on the halfway line, and was subsequently replaced by Jeffrey Schlupp.

      Palace continued to look to press home the advantage, and Eze was only denied the club’s first Premier League hat-trick since November 2015 by Foderingham’s shoulder, after the England international had weaved in between three defenders and clipped a shot goalwards.

      Such has been the Eagles' luck with injuries this season that it was his last contribution of the night, the midfielder requiring treatment and an enforced change seeing David Ozoh enter the fray.

      With Sheffield United forced to pour more bodies forwards in the closing stages, there was a nervy moment for the Selhurst Park faithful when Yasser Larouci’s cross was flicked on by Anel Ahmedhodzic – thundering against the crossbar.

      Half-cleared, the ball broke for Andre Brooks, who spun and volleyed goalwards, but Henderson was well-placed to beat the ball away with both fists.

      But despite 11 additional minutes being played, that was as close as Sheffield United would come, Palace defending well to keep them at arm’s length – and seal an important victory upon their return to Selhurst Park.

      Palace: Henderson (GK), Richards, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell, Lerma, Hughes, Olise (Schlupp, 70), Eze (Ozoh, 78), Ayew, Mateta (Edouard, 90+1).

      Subs not used: Johnstone (GK), Tomkins, Clyne, Riedewald, Ahamada, França.

      Sheffield United: Grbic (GK) (Foderingham, 53 (GK)), Bogle, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson (Larouci, 82), Trusty, Souza, McAtee, Hamer (Archer, 87), Slimane (Norrington-Davies, 45), Brereton Diaz (Brooks, 45), McBurnie (Osula, 64).

      Subs not used: Osborn, Seriki, Norwood.

      As it Happened