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Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace

Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha celebrate
Crystal Palace’s last away goals came in a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield under Sam Allardyce in April

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said Christian Benteke delivered on a pledge to make amends for his penalty miss last weekend as the Eagles climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a rare away win over Claude Puel’s resurgent Leicester.

Benteke cost Palace victory over Bournemouth when the injury-time spot-kick he was not supposed to take was saved, but the striker redeemed himself by opening the scoring against the Foxes with a first-half header from Andros Townsend’s cross – his first goal of the campaign.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson said Benteke “held his hands up” in training after last week’s match and had promised to “make things up” to his team-mates.

Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace
Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace

“That’s exactly what he has done,” Hodgson added. “He’s a quality striker and it wasn’t just his goal that pleased me about his performance.”

Palace had failed to score in their past 10 league away games but added a second goal of an organised and adventurous performance before the break when Benteke’s strong run and pass set up Wilfried Zaha for a brilliant individual finish.

Leicester only tested goalkeeper Julian Speroni when they rallied in the second half – the Argentine reacting superbly to reach Riyad Mahrez’s angled low drive with a strong palm.

And any potential comeback was hamstrung when Wilfred Ndidi was sent off on his birthday less than a minute after Vicente Iborra’s header was correctly disallowed for a foul.

Ndidi – who turns 21 today – was shown a second yellow card for simulation in the penalty box with just under half an hour to play.

Palace had a much more legitimate penalty shout when Benteke was crumpled in the area by Marc Albrighton’s sliding tackle from behind, but the referee waved away appeals for a chance to add extra gloss on an impressive away display.

Bakary Sako eventually provided it – tucking away Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s pass across goal to round off a 94th-minute counter-attack.

The Foxes, who so impressively dismantled Puel’s former club Southampton in midweek, remain eighth in the table, while Palace rise four places to 14th – though the teams below them are yet to play this weekend.

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Benteke promised to make amends for penalty miss – Hodgson

Palace finally find the net

Palace had taken 90 shots over 10 games without finding the net away from home in the league – their last away goals came in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield under Sam Allardyce in April.

It was the longest such run since 1949-50 – when Manchester City went 12 top-flight matches without scoring away – and was broken by Benteke, who himself had failed to score from 28 attempts in his past 13 matches.

In truth, as 10-man Leicester poured forward in the game’s closing stages, Palace – and Benteke in particular – could easily have scored more than three.

Another Benteke header was kept out by an acrobatic Kasper Schmeichel star-jump save at the far post, and the Belgium striker also saw a shot diverted just wide by Wes Morgan’s last-ditch block.

But in the end, it didn’t even matter that Townsend shot horribly over the bar after another late counter.

Hodgson took over with Palace without a goal or a point from their opening five league matches, but his side are now eight games unbeaten having not lost since a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham on 5 November.

It is their best run in the English top flight since a series of 12 games without defeat was ended in October 1990.

Foxes fail to fire

Only Manchester City and Burnley had won more points than Leicester’s tally of 17 from Puel’s first eight matches in charge – and the Foxes went into his ninth game having won each of their past four.

But while Palace looked dangerous every time they went forward – Zaha, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek and Yohan Cabaye all conspiring around target man Benteke – Leicester were easily snuffed out by the away side’s aggressive defence.

The isolated Jamie Vardy was far from his waspish best, while Mahrez – a spectator in the first half – lost the ball in midfield five minutes before half-time to spark the move with which Palace doubled their lead.

Zaha, who had already threatened with several promising runs, expertly took Benteke’s pass in his stride, regained his balance, slid past the covering Ben Chilwell with a stepover and fired the ball past Schmeichel.

It was a brilliant goal, but few would have anticipated the gulf between Leicester’s sluggish showing on Saturday and Wednesday’s 4-1 victory at Southampton.

Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Wilfried Zaha
Since the start of last season, Wilfried Zaha has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals, more than any other Crystal Palace player (11 goals, nine assists)

Unwelcome birthday cards – the stats

  • Roy Hodgson has never lost a competitive match against Leicester as a manager (P5 W4 D1 L0).
  • Ndidi became the fourth player to be sent off on his birthday in a Premier League game, after Dwight Gayle (17 October 2015 against West Ham), Gerry Taggart (18 October 1997 v West Ham) and Les Ferdinand (8 December 1993 against Liverpool).
  • Palace have kept three straight away clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time.
  • Since making his Premier League debut in September 2012, Benteke has scored 24 headed goals – only Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud (27) has netted more in the competition in this period.

Benteke’s vow – what the managers said

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, speaking to BBC Sport: “[Benteke] was very strong. The day after [Benteke’s penalty miss] he came in and held his hand up, he spoke to the players and myself and made the point that he would make it up to team, and that is what he has done.

“We did feel a bit marooned [at the bottom of the table], there was a time when we were looking up at everyone above us and the gap was massive.

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Benteke promised to make amends for penalty miss – Hodgson

“But since then we have started playing the way we have over the past few games, and if we can produce performances like this all the way until May, at least we will have given ourselves a chance.

“I can’t say I’m surprised [by the win] – we’ve had good results away from home where a victory would not have been totally out of order. It’s good to get it today because the longer that run goes on the more you keep getting reminded of it.”

Leicester manager Claude Puel, speaking to BBC Sport: “It was not a good day for us. We did not start well, we played without intensity. We played a good team with confidence – Palace deserved this win, they played very well.

“We needed to be more aggressive. We needed more good play, more intensity and quality.

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Defeat a lesson for the future – Claude Puel

“We tried to react in the second half. Ndidi was sent off and after we tried but it was too difficult for us to come back in this condition and we conceded a third goal, which was a little harsh for us.

“For us, it is a good lesson for the future. Now it is time to look forward.”

What’s next?

Leicester host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday (19:45 GMT kick-off), before a home Premier League game against Manchester United on 23 December (19:45).

Crystal Palace’s next match is away at Swansea in a 15:00 kick-off in the Premier League on Saturday.

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 2SimpsonBooked at 86mins
  • 5Morgan
  • 15MaguireBooked at 56mins
  • 3Chilwell
  • 25NdidiBooked at 61mins
  • 21IborraSubstituted forOkazakiat 77′minutes
  • 26Mahrez
  • 7Gray
  • 11AlbrightonSubstituted forKingat 77′minutes
  • 9VardySubstituted forUlloaat 85′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Iheanacho
  • 10King
  • 12Hamer
  • 16Dragovic
  • 20Okazaki
  • 23Ulloa
  • 28Fuchs

Crystal Palace

  • 1Speroni
  • 34Kelly
  • 5Tomkins
  • 6Dann
  • 15SchluppBooked at 67mins
  • 10Townsend
  • 7CabayeSubstituted forRiedewaldat 85′minutes
  • 18McArthur
  • 8Loftus-Cheek
  • 17BentekeBooked at 51minsSubstituted forSakoat 88′minutes
  • 11Zaha

Substitutes

  • 3van Aanholt
  • 13Hennessey
  • 14Lee Chung-yong
  • 23Souaré
  • 26Sako
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 44Riedewald
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
31,081

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home11
Away13
Shots on Target
Home2
Away6
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Leicester City 0, Crystal Palace 3.

Full Time

Posted at90’+5′

Second Half ends, Leicester City 0, Crystal Palace 3.

Goal!

Posted at90’+4′

Goal! Leicester City 0, Crystal Palace 3. Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Ruben Loftus-Cheek following a fast break.

Posted at90’+2′

Harry Maguire (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at90’+2′

Foul by Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace).

Posted at89′

Attempt blocked. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

Substitution

Posted at88′

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces Christian Benteke.

Posted at87′

Danny Simpson (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at87′

Foul by Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace).

Booking

Posted at86′

Danny Simpson (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card.

Posted at85′

Foul by Danny Simpson (Leicester City).

Posted at85′

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at85′

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Leonardo Ulloa.

Substitution

Posted at85′

Substitution, Leicester City. Leonardo Ulloa replaces Jamie Vardy.

Substitution

Posted at85′

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jairo Riedewald replaces Yohan Cabaye.

Posted at84′

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Wes Morgan.

Posted at84′

Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.

Posted at83′

Attempt missed. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Posted at82′

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Scott Dann.

Posted at82′

Attempt blocked. Andy King (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Demarai Gray with a cross.

Posted at80′

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Kasper Schmeichel.

Posted at80′

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross.

Posted at78′

Attempt missed. Wes Morgan (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Demarai Gray with a cross following a corner.

Posted at77′

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Yohan Cabaye.

Substitution

Posted at77′

Substitution, Leicester City. Andy King replaces Marc Albrighton.

Substitution

Posted at77′

Substitution, Leicester City. Shinji Okazaki replaces Vicente Iborra.

Posted at75′

Attempt missed. Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

Posted at75′

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Posted at72′

Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City).

Posted at72′

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at71′

Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at71′

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Posted at70′

Foul by Harry Maguire (Leicester City).

Posted at70′

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at69′

Attempt missed. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Posted at67′

Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at67′

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at67′

Foul by Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace).

Posted at65′

Foul by Danny Simpson (Leicester City).

Posted at65′

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

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