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Report: Eagles fly in eight-goal thriller

Crystal Palace
Batshuayi 24' 32'
Simpson 37'
van Aanholt 65'
Townsend 80'
Lerma 45'
Ibe 56'
King 73'

A game that set itself against a backdrop of celebration - for both Julian Speroni and Jason Puncheon, as well as the close to the 2018/19 season - delivered an eight-goal thriller that saw Crystal Palace run riot on the Selhurst turf to defeat a visiting Bournemouth.

After a slow opening 20 minutes, the clash burst into life through Michy Batshuayi and the goals didn't dry up from then on.

The first chance appeared to fall to Palace, as Max Meyer played a fine ball into the path of Batshuayi who found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Mark Travers. His effort was well saved as the assistant referee raised his flag. Equally close, Luka Milivojevic was then denied by the woodwork rather than laws of the game as he struck a fierce, bending effort from 25 yards which shook the post and flew out of play.

Townsend Bournemouth.jpg

Wearing the newly unveiled 2019/20 home shirt, the Eagles looked sharp in attire as well as skill and Wilfried Zaha unsettled the visiting Cherries as he danced his way into their box before ultimately falling victim to a crowd of legs at close-quarters.

Palace's close chances finally yielded success after 23 minutes when Batshuayi - this time onside - strongly held off the tight marking of Steve Cook to acrobatically turn home a deflected Zaha cross from five yards out. With his effort, the sun struck Selhurst and the already energised crowd in SE25 burst into life, with a positive home win seeming a likely reward for their following this season.

Lifted by the bulging of the net, Palace looked determined to double their advantage and both Max Meyer and Milivojevic sought to put their side further ahead with off-target efforts.

Shortly afterwards, their resolve paid off.

Batshuayi celebration Bournemouth.jpg

Again it was Batshuayi, again it was at close-quarters and again it was emphatically received by the onlooking 25,000. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka exhibiting his experience as a former winger down the right flank, the Belgian forward only had to stretch the sinews of his stuck-out leg to prod home a well-whipped cross which fizzed low through the Cherries' box.

Two soon became three minutes later as the Eagles launched Selhurst Park into an end-of-season party via the misfortunes of Jack Simpson. Zaha charged head-down towards Travers and unleashed a venomous shot at the teenage goalkeeper. Cannoning off his 'keeper's chest with pace, the on-running Simpson was unfortunately placed and ended up bouncing the ball off his shin into his own goal.

Retaliating against what appeared primed to turn into a home side riot, Jefferson Lerma took control of his team's afternoon and launched a stunning long-distance effort in Vicente Guaita's direction which sailed into Palace's net to go down as the fourth goal of the half. It was a strike worthy of vociferous celebration, however the Cherries and their fans remained conservative in their excitement given the deficit they faced.

Guaita concedes Bournemouth.jpg

Looking to open the second half as they had played through the first, Andros Townsend cracked a promising shot at goal however Travers was equal to his attempt and met it very well to deny the winger. James McArthur was next to test his luck but was also prevented from scoring by Travers, who blocked his close-range shot instinctively.

But, against the run of play, it was the visitors who scored next. Jordan Ibe was the man who found the net when, on the edge of the box, he took a composed touch before angling an effort between Guaita and his post to give Bournemouth hopes of a comeback.

The hopes were dashed before the could fully develop, however, by some fine link-up play between Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt, as the former threaded the latter in before watching him slot home cooly under pressure.

Van Aanholt goal Bournemouth.jpg

Meyer was next to worry the travelling support with a sweetly caught effort from just outside the box which crept whiskers past the 'keeper's left post. The action wasn't confined to Travers' end of the pitch, though, as Guaita was forced into being alert when he stood firmly as the obstacle between substitute Lys Moussett and glory.

He couldn't keep Bournemouth out any further seconds later as Joshua King netted from close range after Chris Mepham nodded him into space from a corner.

Van Aanholt Zaha celebrations.jpg

The Cherries' celebrations were later proved to be in vain when Townsend bagged Palace's fifth goal of the game after a sublime drive from Zaha, who skipped around Nathaniel Clyne and Lerma, running 40-yards to selflessly switch to his teammate on the wing, who made no mistake of striking home.

With the game well won, Roy Hodgson offered more cause for celebration by handing a first team debut to Luke Dreher, the Academy graduate coming on late in place of Townsend after a difficult time battling with injury.

At the close a season full of the usual highs and lows of the Premier League and Crystal Palace, the Eagles ended their campaign on an incontestible high with a game very much worthy of celebration.

Palace: Guiata, Van Aanholt, Wan-Bissaka, Ward, Kelly, Milivojevic, McArthur, Meyer, Townsend (Dreher 90+1), Zaha (Sako 87), Batshuayi (Wickham 89). 

Subs not used: Hennessey, Riedewald, Tavares, Benteke.

Bournemouth: Travers, Cook, Ake, Lerma, Ibe (Moussett 70), Wilson, Smith, King, Clyne (Surridge 89), Fraser, Simpson (Mepham 70).

Subs not used: Boruc, Hyndman, Taylor, Butcher.

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