Zaha stunner rescues point for Palace against Brighton


A stunning individual effort from Wilfried Zaha cancelled out a Neal Maupay opener to earn Crystal Palace a point against Brighton.

Aaron Mooy had the first sighting at goal as the Australian flashed just wide of the post much to the relief of the Palace faithful who were in full voice early on.

The game had the bite and edge that fans have come to expect from a rivalry, every touch applauded or jeered by both sets of supporters.

Brighton were dominating the opening exchanges and looking to exploit a rather patched-up Eagles defence, Seagulls defender Martin Montoya’s appeals for a penalty waved away by Craig Pawson after a VAR check.

A nervous backpass from Scott Dann did little to ease the nerves of home fans inside Selhurst Park, Vicente Guaita alert to the danger to clear.

An important James Tomkins tackle prevented a chance for Neal Maupay as despite their dominance of the ball, Graham Potter’s men struggled to fashion meaningful openings as the half drew to a close.

Roy Hodgson made a change to his Palace team at half-time, James McCarthy coming on at centre-midfield and James McArthur filling in at left-back for the often exposed Jairo Riedewald.

Christian Benteke almost raised the roof just after the break when an overhit cross curled over the despairing Mat Ryan and cannoned back off the post.

Brighton took the lead on 54 minutes. A switch over to Leandro Trossard was superbly volleyed into the box by the Belgian to eventually find top scorer Neal Maupay. The Frenchman took one touch to control the cross before firing high into the top corner of the Palace net to secure his seventh goal of the season.

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A well-worked Brighton corner almost forced another soon after as Eagles ‘keeper Guaita gratefully clung onto the ball at the second attempt after an initial spillage which looked to have given Maupay the chance to grab a second.

Despite their advantage on the scoresheet, Brighton continued to push forward and had chances through Yves Bissouma and Trossard to double the advantage.

A puff of the cheeks was seen from Palace boss Hodgson, who was taking charge of his 100th game as Eagles boss,  as his team failed to penetrate a well-organised Brighton backline.

Benteke’s shot on the turn signalled their first real chance as the big Belgian forced a smart stop from Ryan in the Brighton goal.

A spell of Palace attacks commenced as the home crowd sensed their team’s best period in the game so far.

Then came a moment of brilliance from Palace’s talisman. Receiving the ball on the right hand side, Wilfried Zaha, who had been kept relatively quiet up to this point, squared up Montoya before cutting back onto his left and unleashing an unstoppable strike high into the roof of the net.

A mazy Jordan Ayew run resulted in the Ghanian curling just over as Palace songs chorused around South London with ten minutes left on the clock.

Lewis Dunk headed over the visitors as both teams looked to find a winner.

Martin Kelly flashed wide not long after before Neal Maupay almost stole the show and three points for Brighton with an acrobatic effort which sails agonisingly wide.

The full time whistle did eventual blow as Crystal Palace and Brighton share the spoils. Palace go up one place to ninth whilst Brighton stay 13th.

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita; Riedewald (McCarthy, 45) Tomkins, Dann, Kelly; McArthur, Kouyate (Meyer, 67) , Milivojevic (C), Zaha; Ayew, Benteke

Crystal Palace unused substitutes: Hennessey, Woods, Mitchell, Camarasa, Wickham

Brighton XI: Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Webster, Montoya; Gross, Bissouma (Duffy, 85), Mooy, Propper, Trossard (Alzate, 84); Maupay

Brighton unused substitutes: Button, Jahanbakhsh, Murray, Schelotto, Bernardo


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