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Report: Palace battle to deserved point v Man Utd

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Crystal Palace secured another hard-fought clean sheet to take a deserved point from Manchester United at Selhurst Park, on a foggy night in south London.

Summary:

  • Palace start fast as Benteke volleys over from close range.
  • Vicente Guaita saves spectacularly from Nemanja Matic’s deflected effort.
  • Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood see low efforts flash just wide.
  • Spectacular Joel Ward defending prevents a tap-in for Edinson Cavani
  • HT: Palace 0-0 Man Utd
  • Palace come out positively, winning a flurry of corners after the restart.
  • Milivojevic’s free-kick clips the wall from close range.
  • Daniel James misses a golden opportunity minutes after coming on.
  • FT: Palace 0-0 Man Utd

Palace took no note of the visitors’ league position and started on the front foot, with Luka Milivojevic and James McCarthy doing a sterling job of breaking up the play in midfield. Jordan Ayew looked a threat on the break, running purposefully at the Man Utd defence.

The Eagles created the first real chance of the game. After Andros Townsend sent an inviting free-kick into the area that evaded everyone in red and blue, he picked up the ball on the right. His cross was slightly behind Christian Benteke, who adjusted his body cleverly to wrap his foot around the ball, but couldn’t keep the volley down.

While Townsend was threatening on the right, Ayew was a danger on the left, combining with Patrick van Aanholt to skip past a weak Fred challenge and force a corner.

CRYMUN Guaita save.jpg

Man Utd grew into the game and soon began to see more of the ball. Mason Greenwood was at the centre of the action on the wing, delivering a sensational cross that evaded both Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford.

From the resulting loose ball, Bruno Fernandes set up Nemanja Matic, his deflected strike forcing Guaita into a stunning reaction save. From the resulting corner Harry Maguire’s header fell into the path of Cavani, but he poked the ball over the crossbar from close range.

The visitors continued to create chances – Rashford and Greenwood driving shots just past Guaita’s post – but Palace were a constant presence on the break.

Moments before half-time it looked as though the deadlock would be broken, the Eagle’s rescued by a spectacular clearance from Joel Ward. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross was inch-perfect, evading Cheikhou Kouyate and Gary Cahill as Cavani waited to tap home at the far post; Ward slid in at full-stretch and hooked the ball away, preventing a certain goal.

Palace came out positively after the restart, winning a flurry of corners as they pushed forwards. Benteke saw an acrobatic overhead kick blocked, while Milivojevic’s free-kick clipped the wall from just outside the penalty area.

CRYMUN Ayew Wan-Bissaka.jpg

The fog descended on Selhurst as the game wore on, reducing visibility for both sides – but it didn’t stop Eberechi Eze finding Ayew in behind, only for Benteke to miscue his effort from the pull-back.

Much like in the first-half, the visitors grew into the game as the minutes progressed, and saw more of the ball in the final stages.

Moments after coming on, Daniel James had a golden opportunity to give Man Utd the lead, picked out by Luke Shaw for a free header six yards out. He failed to make any connection however, and the chance was wasted.

Greenwood continued to be the biggest source of discomfort for the Palace defence, his curling shot flashing past the upright with Guaita rooted to the spot.

They kept pouring forward, but it was Palace who almost won it at the death. Van Aanholt was released in behind, but his shot was blocked by Dean Henderson who stood tall. Replays showed he may have been ruled offside.

With both teams left to rue their missed opportunities, it ended goalless, securing another hard-fought clean sheet for Palace and a third Premier League game unbeaten.

Palace: Guaita (GK), Ward, Cahill, Kouyate, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McCarthy (Riedewald, 62), Townsend, Eze (Schlupp, 84), Ayew, Benteke.

Subs: Butland (GK), Dann, Mateta, Wickham, Batshuayi, Kelly, Hannam.

Man Utd: Henderson (GK), Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Fred (McTominay, 74), Matic, Greenwood, Bruno, Rashford, Cavani (James, 77).

Subs: Grant (GK), Lindelof, Amad, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shoretire.

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