English Premiership

Paul Clement makes winning start at Swansea

2017-01-04 08:07
Paul Clement.(Getty Images)

London - New Swansea City manager Paul Clement saw his side score an 88th-minute winner as they triumphed 2-1 at Crystal Palace on Tuesday and climb off the foot of the Premier League.

Just hours after the Bayern Munich assistant became Swansea's third manager of a dismal season, Clement was in the stands at Selhurst Park but did not pick the team, leaving that to first-team coach Alan Curtis.

The 44-year-old Clement, whose only previous job as a manager was with second-tier Derby and where he was sacked, takes over a Swansea side that is now just a point from safety -- and a point behind their hosts.

In contrast, Palace manager Sam Allardyce, taking charge for the first time at home, now knows that he faces a real fight to keep the London club in the top flight.

Swansea were the better side in the opening period, with Neil Taylor firing high over from distance.

Allardyce saw his side go close after a quarter of an hour, but Yohan Cabaye hit the side-netting after the visitors made an almighty hash clearing his free-kick.

But Clement would have been buoyed by the way Swansea dominated possession against a Palace team whose predicament at the wrong end of the Premier League table is now just as desperate.

Allardyce looked on in disgust as Palace toiled and Swansea squandered a big chance when defender Federico Fernandez headed over.

But Swansea showed just why they are facing the relegation trapdoor when a punt from Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was allowed to bounce in the heart of the Swans defence, sparking panic.

Palace striker Christian Benteke nipped in and toed it past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, before tumbling in the box under minimal contact, but the officials were unmoved.

Soon after, on 42 minutes, Swansea took a deserved lead when a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick was headed in by Alfie Mawson.

Loud boos rained down on the Palace players as they trudged in at the break and they improved in the second half, substitute Bakary Sako testing Fabianski, then Joe Ledley had a shot blocked.

Palace were appealing again when Swansea defender Angel Rangel appeared to handle in the box, but moments later the hosts were level when Wilfried Zaha met a Martin Kelly cross in midair with a superb scissor kick from 15 yards on 83 minutes.

But Clement, who had been in the dug-out since half-time, was celebrating five minutes later when Rangel smashed the winner.

Hull, who sacked Mike Phelan, fell to bottom spot.

 

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