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Report: Zaha gives Palace pre-season victory over Ipswich

A Wilfried Zaha penalty was the difference as Palace secured victory against Ipswich at Portman Road, in a game of many chances for the visitors.

Summary:

  • Jean-Philippe Mateta misses from close range after a fast Palace break.
  • A heroic last-ditch challenge denies Wilfried Zaha.
  • Zaha rounds two defenders but fires wide after cutting inside.
  • HT: Ipswich Town 0-0 Palace
  • Both sides hit the woodwork in a frantic start to the second-half.
  • Mateta strikes the post for a second time moments later.
  • Zaha is fouled in the area and steps up to dispatch the penalty.
  • Marc Guehi makes his first appearance in a Palace shirt.
  • FT: Ipswich Town 0-1 Palace

A vibrant atmosphere greeted the players as the six thousand fans generated the noise of many thousands more, plenty in the red-and-blue of Palace.

The fervour only grew due to the Eagles bright start, with Vieira’s men creating a flurry of chances to take the lead early on.

The first fell to Jean-Philippe Mateta, found just outside the six-yard box after a dangerous breakaway from Jeffrey Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha, but the Frenchman slipped as he looked certain to score and his effort fell wide.

Zaha and Schlupp were proving a real danger as Palace broke quickly. First Schlupp’s volley was blocked, before Zaha was denied by a heroic last-ditch challenge.

Every time Ipswich lost the ball in midfield yellow shirts would pour forwards, with the visitors set up to exploit the frightening pace of Zaha.

Combining with Riedewald centrally, the ball was worked to Ayew on the edge of the box, but his effort was deflected wide.

But it was out wide that the Ivorian was most lethal. Marshalled by a double act of Kane Vincent-Young and Aristote Nsiala, he left both markers sprawling when cutting inside, before firing a shot past the far post.

Despite their early pressure, it took Palace until the half-hour mark to register their first shot on target. Riedewald’s deep corner was nodded back into the danger zone by Cheikhou Kouyate, before James McArthur picked out James Tomkins six-yards out; his effort was comfortably saved by Tomas Hladky in the Ipswich goal.

Ipswich’s only chance of the first-half came from range, with Vicente Guaita forced into a smart save by Joe Pigott.

Palace started the second-half at an even more frenetic pace than the first, and the first few minutes saw Ipswich desperately defending to keep the scores level. The pressure was instigated by Zaha once again, cutting onto his left foot inside the box, his deflected shot bobbling agonisingly wide.

From the resulting corner Mateta struck the woodwork with a header, and the ball was bundled behind before it could be forced home. Riedewald delivered once again, and this time Schlupp’s instinctive effort forced a fine save.

Moments later the woodwork was struck at the other end, as Ipswich nearly snatched the lead against the run of play. Running on to Scott Fraser’s knockdown, Pigott struck a firm half-volley that evaded the outstretched hand of Guaita and cannoned off the base of the post.

Not to be outdone, it was the Eagles turn to be denied by the woodwork once again. Schlupp’s smart turn created space on the edge of the area to pick out Mateta, whose first-time effort came back off the inside of the post before being cleared.

Finally though, Palace were able to make the breakthrough. Racing at the Ipswich back-four once again, Zaha was brought down in the area. The referee pointed to the spot, and the Palace winger picked himself up to dispatch from twelve yards.

It was a goal that Palace deserved after their endeavours going forwards, and was the cue for Vieira to make wholesale changes, with the entire XI replaced within ten minutes – including the chance for a debut for Marc Guehi.

The changes meant the pace of the game naturally slowed, but still Palace came forwards with Rob Street showing his strength to hold the ball up when required.

Jesurun Rak-Sakyi demonstrated his attacking potential with a stinging drive that was pushed over the top by Hladky, before Guehi headed just wide from the resulting corner.

It concluded another satisfying afternoon for Vieira and Palace, and another step in their preparation for the Premier League opener at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, 14th August.

Palace: Guaita (GK) (Butland, 64), Clyne (Ward, 64), Kouyate (Kelly, 64), Tomkins (Guehi, 64), Mitchell (Hannam, 64), Riedewald (Milivojevic, 64), McArthur (Boateng, 75), Schlupp (Wells-Morrison, 75), Zaha (Banks, 75), Mateta (Street, 75), Ayew (Rak-Sakyi, 75).

Ipswich Town: Hladky (GK), Vincent-Young, Penney (Ward, 83), Nsiala (Armin, 88), Woolfenden (Ndaba, 88), Humphreys (Healy, 78), Burns, Harper (Alexander, 78), Pigott (Clements, 83), Norwood, Fraser.

Subs not used: Holy, Bonagen, Nwabuele, Dobra, Bonne, Jackson.