Stunning goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Christian Benteke saw Crystal Palace steal all three points at the Amex Stadium, beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 despite having just two touches in the Brighton box.
The hosts controlled the first-half without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances with all of their possession, and it came as a bit of a shock when Palace took their lead with their first significant attempt of the game after 28 minutes.
Jordan Ayew’s cross was slightly behind Mateta, but the on-loan striker produced a brilliant flicked back-heel finish through the legs of both the covering defender and goalkeeper, opening his account for Palace in spectacular fashion.
Brighton upped the pace after the break and drew level through Joel Veltman’s clinical close-range shot. But, despite the home side continuing to dominate as the chances flowed with increasing regularity throughout the second half, it was Palace who won it deep into stoppage time.
The visitors had barely got into Brighton’s half for the final 20 minutes, but, just as the clock ticked over to 95, Andros Townsend carried the ball down the left and crossed deep for Benteke, who volleyed home a wonderful first-time shot at the back post for the unlikeliest of wins.
The result sees Palace move up to 13th on 32 points and ends Brighton’s six-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, with Graham Potter’s side still just four points clear of the drop zone.
TALKING POINT – Will the Palace fans back Hodgson now?
Roy Hodgson went into this game warning the Crystal Palace fans about the risks of overambition – comments that came following a fan protest outside the training ground after a string of uninspiring performances. But, despite the result and two moments of magic from Mateta and Benteke, critics of Hodgson will not have had their minds changed by a game that saw the visitors completely dominated in all aspects except the scoreline.
Palace failed to get on the ball in midfield, they failed to get their creative players (particularly the isolated Eberechi Eze) into the game, and they struggled to contain Brighton for much of the night. Hodgson will point to the win, and it certainly doesn’t hurt, but there is much still to do if he is to win over the Palace supporters.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)
The Palace forward ran himself into the ground for the cause and set up the opening goal with a decent run and cross. His tireless efforts encapsulated a workmanlike team performance from the visitors, for whom centre-back Gary Cahill was also impressive.
Brighton: Sanchez 6, Veltman 7, Dunk 6, White 6, Burn 7, Alzate 6, Bissouma 6, Gross 7, Mac Allister 6, Trossard 7, Maupay 6. Subs: Welbeck 7, Lallana 6, Jahanbakhsh 6
Crystal Palace: Guaita 7, Ward 7, Kouyate 7, Cahill 8, Mitchell 7, Townsend 6, Milivojevic 5, Riedewald 5, Eze 5, Ayew 8, Mateta 7. Subs: Benteke 7, McCarthy 6.
28’ GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Palace (Mateta): Oh my word that is silky. Completely against the run of play it’s Palace who have the lead, and it’s Mateta who’s got it – his first goal for the club. The finish was beautiful, back-heeled on the turn past Sanchez. One to watch if you get the chance for sure. 1-0 Palace!
55’ GOAL! Brighton 1-1 Palace (Veltman): It’s the equaliser and it’s Veltman who’s got it, slamming home from close range as Palace fail to clear. The pressure has finally told. 1-1!
61’ – Woah! It’s quite hard to explain what’s happened there. Trossard is initially denied from point-blank range by Guaita, but afterwards it’s an absolute flurry of activity in the goalmouth as attempt after attempt is blocked and Palace eventually, somehow, survive.
70’ – Lallana shoots over under pressure from Cahill, who is back on with some cottonwool up his nose. That should have been the second for Brighton.
89’ – Oof, Welbeck is tackled on the edge of the box but the loose ball falls to the feet of Jahanbakhsh. It’s a great chance for the sub, but Cahill produces a brilliant brave block to deflect the shot narrowly wide.
95’ GOAL! Brighton 1-2 Palace (Benteke): Would you believe it! Palace get forward right as the clock strikes 95 and Townsend’s deep cross towards the back post is brilliantly volleyed home by Benteke. They scarcely deserve it, but Palace have won this. 2-1!
- Mateta’s goal ended a run of five games where Palace had failed to score when Wilfried Zaha was absent from the side.
- Palace had two touches in the Brighton box all game. Both were goals.
- Brighton have never won a Premier League game on a Monday, with this result stretching that run to six draws and three defeats.