Roy Hodgson recently returned to Selhurst Park, after the board decided to sack Patrick Vieira following a poor run of form. The London side haven’t won in the league since the turn of the year, but a game against Leicester City offered the perfect opportunity to pick up some vital points.
CRY: Guaita; Mitchell, Guess, Andersen, Ward; Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze; Zaha, Edouard, Olise
LEI: Iversen; Kristiansen, Faes, Souttar, Castagne; Dewsbury-Hall, Ndidi; Barnes, Maddison, Tete; Daka
Palace sought to deal their opponents an instant blow as a flick-on from Wilfried Aha gave Odsonne Edouard space to run in behind. The Frenchman played it back to Zaha, but a block from Harry Souttar cleared the danger for the time being.
Michael Olise whipped in a corner soon after, finding Cheick Doucoure on the edge of the box. The midfielder took a touch before rifling a low effort through the crowded box – but Daniel Iversen did well to get down and make the save.
Harvey Barnes intercepted a loose pass and played in Victor Kristiansen on the left, and the Danish left-back’s cross into the box struck the far post before bouncing out. Marc Guehi was there to hoof it clear though.
The chances simply wouldn’t stop flowing in a very end-to-end game, and it was Eberechi Eze who had the next opportunity after working his way past Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before sending a thunderous strike across goal – Iversen was able to parry it away. Palace looked relentless in their search for an opener though, with Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Edouard and Joachim Andersen all coming close as the game approached the thirty-minute mark.
It’s fair to say that Roy Hodgson’s side had dominated the first half, and were unlucky not to have taken the lead before the break – but Leicester were quicker off the blocks in the second half. Ricardo Pereira smashed a strike past Vicente Guaita, nestling in the top corner to send the Foxes 1-0 up.
Their lead didn’t last long though, and it was an own goal from Daniel Iversen that brought Palace level just three minutes later. Eberechi Eze was awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box after he was fouled by Patson Daka, and his strike richocheted off the crossbar, before bouncing over the line via Iversen’s back. Palace were deservedly level.
Despite a quick start to the second half, Leicester appeared to stumble at the hurdles – and found themselves susceptible to conceding a second after Palace began to return to their first-half dominance. The Foxes looked as if they’d be able to hold on for a point though, until Jean-Philippe Mateta scored in the 94th minute – slotting the ball into the bottom corner to steal all three points at the death.
It’s a dream return to Palace for Roy Hodgson – but Brendan Rodgers will face a fresh wave of criticism from the Foxes faithful as his Leicester City side still linger in the relegation zone. With just ten games to play, the threat of Championship football at the King Power Stadium next season looms ever closer.