Crystal Palace, Southampton play to a 2-all draw

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Crystal Palace, Southampton play to a 2-all draw. First James Ward-Prowse whipped a free-kick into the top corner and then Armando Broja drilled in from long range to send the visitors into the break with the lead. Southampton saw their winless run in the Premier League stretch to six games despite two superb goals in an entertaining draw at Crystal Palace.

Saints had fallen behind inside two minutes at Selhurst Park when Wilfried Zaha was allowed time to fire a low effort beyond Willy Caballero. Palace could not build on that confident start, with Odsonne Edouard wasting a glorious chance to double the lead for Patrick Vieira’s side.

But the forward, who set up Zaha for the opener, dragged an effort across goal in the second half and Jordan Ayew turned it in from a tight angle to earn the hosts a point.

Palace climb to 11th as a result, while Southampton remain 15th, six points above the relegation zone. Ralph Hasenhuttl must wonder what his side have to do to hang on to a lead, having now dropped a league-high 16 points from winning positions this season.

The answer lies with the Saints’ defence, who have conceded 75 goals in the Premier League in 2021 – more than any other side – and are in danger of taking Ipswich Town’s 27-year old record of 79 in a calendar year.

Palace, meanwhile, have two fewer points than they did under Roy Hodgson at this stage last season but there is a sense they have been unfortunate to not have more.

It was the perfect start for the buoyant hosts as Edouard roamed through the middle unchallenged, slid a pass into Zaha’s path and he beat Caballero at his near post as Southampton backed off inside the box.

The Eagles’ increased attacking intent has been notable since Vieira’s arrival, especially at Selhurst Park, and they have now scored in eight successive Premier League home games for the first time, only failing to register in a goalless draw with Brentford in August.

Edouard could have doubled their lead from Zaha’s low cross but steered his effort wide and the game suddenly turned in Southampton’s favour.

Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland, in for Vicente Guaita, could do nothing to stop Saints captain Ward-Prowse bending his free-kick over the wall and into the corner.

The midfielder has scored more direct free-kicks than any player in Europe’s top five leagues in the past two seasons, though Palace’s Will Hughes insisted he did not foul Broja.

It was Ward-Prowse’s fifth in that timeframe and 11th overall in the Premier League, with only David Beckham (18), Thierry Henry (12) and Gianfranco Zola (12) scoring more in the competition.

There was no controversy moments later when Chelsea loanee Broja fired low into the corner from distance for his fourth goal in six starts after another Blues-owned player, Conor Gallagher, gave the ball away in midfield.

Vieira brought Christian Benteke on as Palace looked to get back into the game and the change paid off within a minute.

The substitute and Edouard caused confusion as the visitors failed to clear and Ayew finished for his first goal in 43 Premier League matches.

Source – BC News

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