English Premiership

Benteke, Zaha win it for Palace

2016-09-10 18:20
Christian Benteke (Getty)

Cape Town - Goals from Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha struck for Crystal Palace in a physical 2-1 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium On Saturday.

Christian Benteke gave Crystal Palace a 16th-minute lead after an uncertain opening to the game by both sides. It could have been two in the 24th minute but Andros Townsend's effort was well saved by Victor Valdes.

After creating little, Stewart Downing's 37th minute corner found Daniel Ayala, who powered home a header to equalise for Middlesbrough. Boro could have even taken a lead into the break but Alvaro Negredo missed a good chance.

Wilfried Zaha made it 2-1 to Palace after the break following a mistake from a Middlesbrough defender. The home side dominated possession but created very few clear openings in the second period.

In the final minutes, Aitor Karanka's side threw everything forward and were unlucky not to draw level with Ayala and Negredo going the closest. Palace hung on to record a valuable away win for Alan Pardew's side.

Both sides started in a nervy fashion at the Riverside Stadium but it was Crystal Palace who would get the first meaningful strike on target when Andros Townsend's shot was deflected wide in the fifth minute.

Palace would take the lead in the 16th minute when Wilfried Zaha's driven cross found Christian Benteke and he towered above the Middlesbrough defence to power home the opener.

It was Zaha who was again causing problems and his run and cross led to a chance for Townsend whose shot was well saved by Victor Valdes in the 24th minute.

Boro were creating few chances but did find a way back into the game when Stewart Downing's 37th minute corner found Daniel Ayala. The tall centre-back sent a thumping header into the back of the net.

The home side should have taken the lead when Viktor Fisher sent Alvaro Negredo free but his strike was well saved by the legs of Steve Mandanda just before half-time.

Palace would punish Boro after the break when some poor defending by right-back George Friend allowed Zaha in to score past Valdes in the 47th minute.

Aitor Karanka's men tried to up their intensity and nearly replied in the 52nd minute when Downing's rocket from distance went just wide of Mandanda's top right-hand corner.

Four minutes later another long distance effort tested the France international but he tipped over Ben Gibson's 30 yard strike.

Middlesbrough were dominating possession but Palace still looked dangerous on the break with Zaha and Townsend's pace always a threat.

The Eagles were sitting back in numbers and were managing to keep Boro's attack quiet, however, Ayala nearly found an equaliser with a 77th minute header that went just over.

In the 89th minute Negredo missed a chance inside the small box as a brave Mandanda got a piece of his body in the way. There were no further alarms as the visitors hung on for the win.

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30 September 2016
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 21:00
01 October 2016
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 13:30
West Ham United v Middlesbrough, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion, Stadium of Light 16:00
Hull City v Chelsea, The KC Stadium 16:00
Watford v Bournemouth, Vicarage Road 16:00
02 October 2016
Manchester United v Stoke City, Old Trafford 13:00
Leicester City v Southampton, King Power Stadium 15:15
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, White Hart Lane 15:15
Burnley v Arsenal, Turf Moor 17:30
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