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      Report: Palace surge up table with efficient win over Wolves

      Wolverhampton Wanderers
      Matheus Cunha 66'
      Crystal Palace
      Olise 26'
      Mateta 28'
      Eze 73'

      Clinical finishes from Michael Olise, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Ebere Eze saw Crystal Palace leapfrog Wolverhampton Wanderers and move 12th in the Premier League table, with victory in our final away game of the season.


      • Palace unchanged from team which thumped Man Utd
      • Hughes withdrawn after 10 minutes following nasty collision
      • Eze drags wide after Wolves concede
      • Olise screws half-volley wide from good position
      • Winger curls in stunning opener on 26 minutes
      • Mateta smashes home Palace’s second two minutes later
      • Mitchell has close-range effort blocked and Richards heads over
      • Doherty heads against the crossbar for Wolves
      • HT: Wolves 0-2 Palace
      • Henderson denies Cunha at the near post as Wolves come out fighting
      • Muñoz comes close to turning in Palace’s third
      • Cunha effort survives VAR review to put Wolves back in it midway through half
      • Magnificent Clyne challenge denies Hwang an immediate leveller
      • Olise plays through Eze to round ‘keeper and slot home moments later
      • Henderson makes fine stops from Sarabia and Lemina in closing stages
      • Ahamada receives second yellow card amidst late Wolves siege
      • FT: Wolves 1-3 Palace

      The two teams went into the match in contrasting form, with Palace five games unbeaten – four of those wins – and the hosts with just one win in their previous eight.

      What’s more, recent history favoured the Eagles – who were unchanged following a 4-0 win over Manchester United earlier in the week – as they had won five of the last six Premier League meetings between the two sides, and enjoyed a better win rate against them than any other current team in the competition (6 wins from 11 games).

      They got off to an unfortunate start on this occasion, however, when an early collision between Will Hughes and Matheus Cunha in midfield forced the Palace midfielder – the day after it was announced his contract had been extended until 2025 – to withdraw.

      True to recent form, the first clear chance of the game went Palace’s way – although it was largely of Wolves’ making. A slack square ball allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta to nick the ball off Mario Lemina and prod it to Ebere Eze who, advancing into the area, could have passed back to the forward – but instead dragged wide.

      It was a similar circumstances which led to Palace’s next chance – an even bigger one for Michael Olise. The Eagles’ high press paid dividends as Daniel Muñoz won it high and slid in Mateta down the right, and after his bouncing cross evaded Eze in the middle, Olise – a brace goalscorer earlier in the midweek – had time to bring the ball down, but screwed an outside-of-the-boot half-volley wide when all in Molineux expected him to hit the target.

      Four minutes later, the winger more than made up for it. Another tackle high up the pitch, this time from the advancing Chris Richards, paved the way for a spell of sustained quick passing and possession around the Wolves box – and it culminated in some style when Muñoz laid off for Olise, who cut inside and bent into the top corner from 25 yards.

      Within seconds, it was two. Muñoz and Olise again instigated it down the right, chipping the ball into the box for the advancing Nathaniel Clyne, whose fierce half-volley deflected onto the post, presenting newly-crowned Player of the Season Mateta with an open goal for his 10th goal in 11 games under Oliver Glasner.

      Although the game then settled, the offensive threat continued to only flow in one direction in the first-half, and after Joachim Andersen met an Eze corner with a header back across goal, Tyrick Mitchell’s attempt to turn goalwards at close range was blocked by a golden shirt, before Richards’ looping header turned the rebound over.

      That did inspire Wolves to finish the period with their only real sustained attacks of the half, and they came close to reducing the deficit when Rayan Aït-Nouri’s hanging cross was planted goalwards by Matt Doherty; his header smashed against the crossbar and bounced clear.

      In stoppage time, there was one further moment of concern when Aït-Nouri snuck in behind the Palace backline to meet Boubacar Traore’s floated ball – but not only did he half-volley straight at Dean Henderson, but it was also likely from an offside position.

      It wasn’t until the opening moments of the second-half that Wolves truly tested the Palace ‘keeper, as half-time substitute Jean-Ricner Bellegarde did well to turn past Richards and tee up Cunha from a tight angle. Henderson did well to block the shot with his legs.

      But it didn’t take too long for the Eagles’ first opportunities of the second-half to arrive, with Muñoz close to getting onto the end of a fizzed cross from Eze after a delightful give-and-go with Adam Wharton.

      Just as it seemed that clear chances were continuing to dry up – although Ahamada did see one effort fly over the bar after a promising run, and Olise in particular offered no shortage of menace – Wolves mounted something of a siege.

      A driving run forwards from Nelson Semedo saw him play in Hwang on the overlap. His low ball deflected back to Cunha, who swept home from six yards – and after the offside flag was initially raised for the player who assisted the effort, VAR confirmed that Hwang was onside, and the goal stood.

      Seconds later, Wolves ought to have been level. Cunha’s ball across the face of goal looked set to be tapped home by Hwang – but Clyne, sliding at full-stretch, got the faintest of touches on it to upset the striker’s footwork and prevent him from scoring.

      No sooner had Palace’s lead fallen into peril, it was once again extended. A delightful quick first-time ball forwards by Ahamada was killed instantly by Olise, who in turn played Eze through on goal. The playmaker took a touch past goalkeeper Dan Bentley and duly slotted into the unguarded net – 3-1.

      The attacks kept coming and only a good charging stop from Bentley denied Muñoz his first Palace goal after a loose ball broke to the Colombian inside the area.

      The game was open heading into its final knockings, and Wolves forced Henderson into a pair of good stops after 80 minutes: the first was a more routine save low down from Pablo Sarabia, but the latter was an excellent instinctive leap, having initially been unsighted, to turn Lemina’s acrobatic volley over the bar.

      Next to go close for Wolves was Joao Gomes, who collected a header clear from Richards and cleverly juggled past two Palace defenders; his smashed effort hit the stanchion behind the goal.

      The hosts continued to attack and a driving run from Cunha out wide committed Ahamada, whose diving tackle initially saw him concede not only a second yellow card, but a penalty kick. The spot-kick was ruled out by VAR after falling outside the box, but the midfielder still received his marching orders.

      Glasner responded with further defensive substitutions but, despite seven additional minutes, some commanding goalkeeping from Henderson and defensive diligence all-round restricted the hosts’ opportunities.

      With five wins in six games, and a first win in our final away game of a campaign since 2018/19, this Crystal Palace team simply won’t want the summer break to arrive.

      Wolves: Bentley (GK), Semedo, Kilman, Toti (González, 90), Doherty (Doyle, 79), Gomes, Lemina, Traoré (Bellegarde, 45), Aït-Nouri (Sarabia, 61), Hee-Chan, Cunha.

      Subs: King (GK), H. Bueno, S. Bueno, Chirewa, Fraser.

      Palace: Henderson (GK), Clyne, Andersen, Richards, Muñoz, Wharton, Hughes (Ahamada, 15), Mitchell (Guéhi, 69), Olise (Schlupp, 88), Eze (Ward, 88), Mateta (Edouard, 69).

      Subs: Matthews (GK), Ozoh, Ayew, Rak-Sakyi.

      As It Happened