Leicester 0-3 Crystal Palace: Christian Benteke ends drought as Eagles soar to fine away win
Last Updated: 16/12/17 5:21pm
Crystal Palace scored their first away goals of the season and Christian Benteke ended his goal drought in a 3-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday.
Prior to this visit, Palace had failed to win and score in their last 10 Premier League away games either side of the summer but goals from Benteke (19), Wilfried Zaha (40) and Bakary Sako (90+4) saw off Leicester, who had Wilfred Ndidi sent-off for two bookings.
It was a welcome return to form for Benteke, who had gone 13 games without a goal, including missing a last-minute penalty against Bournemouth last weekend.
Palace have now taken 12 points from their last six games having taken just five points from their opening 12 games, while Leicester's run of four straight wins was emphatically ended.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Simpson (6), Chilwell (4), Maguire (5), Morgan (5), Iborra (6), Ndidi (6), Gray (6), Vardy (6), Albrighton (6), Mahrez (6)
Subs: Okazaki (6), King (6), Ulloa (6)
Crystal Palace: Speroni (7), Tomkins (8), Dann (8), Cabaye (7), Schlupp (7), Kelly (7), McArthur (7), Zaha (8), Townsend (7), Loftus-Cheek (6), Benteke (8).
Subs: Riedewald (6)
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha
Benteke looked a man short of confidence in the early stages - but the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders on 19 minutes when he ended his drought.
Andros Townsend did brilliantly to beat Ben Chilwell and curl a sublime ball into the middle which met its intended target as Benteke powered a header into the net and wheeled away celebrating with his fingers in his ears.
Claude Puel made three changes from the side that beat Southampton 4-1 in midweek, with Vicente Iborra, Marc Albrighton and Demarai Gray returning. Crystal Palace handed starts to Martin Kelly and James McArthur.
Leicester looked short of ideas as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez struggled to find space. Meanwhile, Zaha kept popping up in good positions and doubled Palace's lead on 40 minutes when Benteke glided through the middle of the park before slipping in the winger, who finished in great style.
The Foxes improved after the break and thought they levelled when Vincent Iborra headed home from a free-kick but referee Martin Atkinson ruled it out for a clear push. Seconds later, Leicester were down to 10-men when Ndidi was dismissed for a second yellow card for simulation.
The midfielder - on his 21st birthday - dribbled into the box but fell to the ground under no contact, which drew the second yellow from Atkinson's pocket.
Despite showing a positive attitude with one man less, Leicester rarely troubled the Palace back-line and Palace had the final say when substitute Sako finished off a flowing counter attack in added time.
- Crystal Palace ended a run of 934 minutes without a Premier League away goal, scoring for the first time since April 23rd 2017 versus Liverpool. It was their first away league win in 11 attempts.
- Since his Premier League debut in September 2012, Benteke has scored 24 headed goals - only Olivier Giroud (27) has netted more in the competition in this period.
- Since the start of last season, Zaha has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals, more than any other Crystal Palace player (11 goals, 9 assists).
- Crystal Palace have gone seven games unbeaten in the English top-flight for the first time since October 1990 (12 games).
Claude Puel: "It was not a good game for us and Crystal Palace deserved this result. They played with desire and quality and we didn't deserve a win today. I think our play was too slow against a good team with a strong defensive unit. We needed to have more quickness, more quality in the play and it was not possible today."
Roy Hodgson: "Before the game, I was asked about our away form and not scoring goals and I said in the last few performances, we've looked very, very dangerous. You think of the chances we've created, we've done that in all our away matches and we've been getting closer and closer.
"I'm delighted with the victory, but I'm not that surprised because we've been threatening to do that for quite a long time now."
Clinton Morrison: "I think it was a fantastic performance. Before the game, I think Crystal Palace would have taken a draw with the great run that Leicester have been on, but I thought they defended brilliantly and going forward with Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke, Ruben Loftus-Cheek too who had a good game, they were the difference.
"Some of the football they played today was quite breathtaking, it was Crystal Palace trying to pass and move the ball. That front three can cause any defence problems so I think they will go from strength to strength now."
Man of the match - Wilfried Zaha
Fresh from his match-winning double assist salvo against Watford, the Palace winger was a handful once again, driving his team forward at every opportunity. He made the finish for his goal look very easy, which is a sign of the confidence oozing through his veins.
Clinton Morrison in the Sky Sports studio, said: "He's showing consistency, playing intelligent passes and is becoming Palace's star man. The Palace fans love him, that's all they talk about. The young kids want to be him. He's delivering."
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Leicester have a midweek Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City live on Sky Sports Football to look forward to while Palace are on the road again next Saturday with a fixture in south Wales against relegation-threatened Swansea.