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Report: Impressive Palace denied by late Chelsea winner

Crystal Palace
0
1
Chelsea
Ziyech 89'

Hakim Ziyech scored a late winning goal to deny Crystal Palace a much deserved point at Selhurst Park, after the home side had dominated proceedings against the European champions.

Summary:

  • Vieira makes four changes to the side, including the return of McArthur and Kouyaté to the starting lineup.
  • Olise goes close with the game’s first chance, his shot across the face of goal drifting wide.
  • Pulisic volleys over at the back post with the goal gaping.
  • Guaita makes a stunning save to deny Rudiger’s long range drive.
  • The goalkeeper is called into action once again, this time denying Kante from close range.
  • Zaha races through in added time, but can’t sneak his shot in from the angle with Mendy beaten.
  • HT: Palace 0-0 Chelsea
  • Schlupp fires over the crossbar from just outside the penalty area.
  • Ziyech converts the rebound after Lukaku’s blocked shot, but VAR rules the goal out for offside.
  • The winger scores at the far post as Chelsea snatch victory late on.
  • FT: Palace 0-1 Chelsea

Cheikhou Kouyaté and James McArthur’s return to the starting lineup was a boost for all inside Selhurst Park before kick-off, and both were given a rapturous welcome by the Holmesdale as the teams emerged.

Their presence was immediately felt, with Palace gaining an early foothold in midfield as both sides tried to settle into a rhythm. It led to the first half-chance, as McArthur stepped in to win the ball back, allowing Michael Olise to play Wilfried Zaha in behind, but his shot was smothered away.

Olise was once again proving a danger, and soon Palace were through again. This time it was Jeff Schlupp’s excellent ball into Zaha, who squared for Olise; the young Frenchman fired across the face of goal but there was no one waiting to tap home.

The visitors soon settled and began creating chances of their own. Hakim Ziyech’s cross evaded Romelu Lukaku but fell for Christian Pulisic, who was unbalanced as he volleyed over with the goal gaping.

Vicente Guaita was forced into action shortly after, producing two excellent saves to keep the scores level. The first was superb, scrambling across to tip Antonio Rüdiger’s thumping drive past the post – it would have been a stunning goal from almost 40 yards.

The second was from close range, as N’Golo Kanté was suddenly found through on goal, but Guaita got down well to push it away.

But Palace were more than a match for the European champions, and will have felt hard done by not to go in at half-time 1-0 up – particularly after Zaha raced through on goal in added time, only for his shot from the angle to curl just past the post with Edouard Mendy beaten.

Far from being cowed by their frustration, the Eagles came out after the break by far the better side. McArthur in particular was a constant thorn in the sides of the visitors’ midfield, roared on by an increasingly febrile home crowd as a series of niggly decisions went Chelsea’s way.

Olise was pulling the strings from the No 10 position, trying to set-up first Zaha and then Ayew. Schlupp fired over the top from just outside the area, after his headed effort was scrambled away.

Such was Palace’s dominance that Thomas Tuchel made a triple change, including replacing both central midfielders with 15 minutes to go.

It almost paid immediate dividends, with Lukaku slipped in behind; his shot was parried by Butland, but Ziyech tapped in the rebound. However, after a long VAR wait the goal was ruled out for offside, and the stands were bouncing once again.

It set up a grandstand conclusion to the game, as Palace fearlessly pushed forwards in search of a winner.

However the goal would come at the other end, a late suckerpunch that saw Chelsea snatch all three points when it looked like they were clinging on. Marcos Alonso's deep cross evaded Tyrick Mitchell and found Ziyech, who was perfectly placed to volley home.

The frustration was palpable from the home side, but you could feel the tension evaporate from an away end that had been stunned into long periods of silence before then.

Palace pushed in vain for the equaliser but it was not forthcoming, and in the end it was Chelsea to take a victory back to Stamford Bridge.

Palace: Guaita (Butland, HT), Clyne, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell, Kouyaté, McArthur, Ayew (Eze, 85), Olise, Schlupp, Zaha.

Subs not used: Kelly, Adaramola, Milivojevic, Hughes, Mateta, Edouard, Benteke.

Chelsea: Mendy, Rüdiger, Christiensen, Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek, 74), Silva, Kanté (Kovacic, 74), Lukaku, Pulisic, Ziyech, Havertz, Sarr (Alonso, 74).

Subs not used: Kepa, Werner, Chalobah, Niguez, Kenedy, Vale.