Wilfried Zaha's 50th goal in league football secured injury-hit Crystal Palace a 1-0 win over Southampton on the opening day of the Premier League season at Selhurst Park.
Zaha met Andros Townsend's cross to volley the hosts in front (13) against a lacklustre Saints, who failed to replicate the impressive form shown towards the end of last campaign.
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Kyle Walker-Peters saw his red card for a foul on Tyrick Mitchell overturned by referee Jon Moss having consulted VAR Craig Pawson and his pitch-side monitor.
Palace, who had not won in eight games since last season's restart, were very nearly made to pay for Zaha's miss in stoppage time when Vicente Guaita saved brilliantly to deny Danny Ings during a frantic finish but they held on to secure all three points.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (8), Mitchell (7), Ward (7), Dann (8), Kouyate (8), Schlupp (7), McArthur (7), McCarthy (7), Townsend (7), Zaha (7), Ayew (6).
Subs: Milivojevic (6), Eze (6).
Southampton: McCarthy (6), Walker-Peters (6), Bertrand (6), Stephens (6), Bednarek (5), Romeu, Smallbone (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Redmond (5), Adams (6), Ings (6).
Subs: Vestegaard (6), Long (n/a), Djenepo (6).
Man of the match: Vicente Guaita.
How Palace frustrated Saints
Saturday marked three years to the day that Roy Hodgson was appointed Palace boss but at the start of his 45th year in management, he was faced with the familiar tale of a depleted squad.
The Eagles finished 14th last term and yet would have been higher had they not concluded the season with seven defeats from their last eight games. Injuries contributed towards that sequence of results and Gary Cahill, James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt, Nathan Ferguson, Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham were still unavailable for the season opener.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's side collected 60 per cent of their points on the road last term, and it was his side who had the game's first chance as Jack Stephens rose to meet James Ward-Prowse's corner but could only plant his header straight at Guaita.
Palace only scored 31 goals in the division last term, but they grew into the contest and took the lead in typical counter-attacking fashion. Zaha scored in three of his four pre-season friendlies, and the winger was left unmarked to sweep home Townsend's cross at the far post.
Hasenhuttl oversaw an excellent upturn in form as Saints finished unbeaten in seven games to secure an 11th-placed finish, earning July's manager of the month, but they were sluggish in possession and offered very little in the opening period to break down a compact Palace defence.
Roy Hodgson opted to go with the tried and tested for Palace's first game of the season and Ebere Eze and Michy Batshuayi were given places on the substitutes bench. Jordan Ayew was flanked either side by Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha while Cheikhou Kouyate partnered Scott Dann at the back.
Defender Mohammed Salisu, a summer signing from Spanish side Real Valladolid, was made to wait to make his Saints debut after he was left out of the squad. With Stuart Armstrong out injured, Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse were deployed wide with Will Smallbone alongside Oriol Romeu in midfield.
The hosts had just 28 per cent possession in the first half, but faced with the challenge of ending Palace's impressive 21-game record of avoiding defeat when scoring first, the visitors made a bright response following the break.
Che Adams combined with his strike partner Ings before Nathan Redmond was found in space on the left but his right-foot shot was saved low down by Guaita inside the opening minute.
Then came the game's main talking point as referee Moss showed Walker-Peters a straight red card for high studs in a challenge on Mitchell only for the original decision to be overturned having consulted the pitch side monitor with the foul downgraded to a booking.
Southampton almost took full advantage of the reprieve moments later as Jannik Vestergaard headed on Ward-Prowse's set piece but Guiata saved brilliantly from Adams' close-range shot. Adams then felt he had a decent shout for a penalty as he went down under pressure from Cheikhou Kouyate but Moss was unmoved.
With the visitors running out of time, Ward-Prowse's free-kick whistled over the bar as Hodgson turned to Ebere Eze in the final 10 minutes in a bid to exploit the widening space left in behind the tiring Southampton defence.
Palace were denied a second when Zaha's composed finish was correctly ruled out for offside but the linesman's flag stayed down in the fifth minute of stoppage time as he raced onto James McArthur's pass only to snatch his shot into the side-netting.
It almost proved costly as Southampton launched one final attack with Walker-Peters' inviting cross headed goalwards by Ings but Guaita was once more in the right place as Palace stood firm.
What the managers said
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson: "I'm very pleased because we played against a good team. I'm pleased by the way we approached it; the determination and resilience that we showed. I have to take my hat off to my goalkeeper for making a great save from Che Adams that would've cost us the two added points.
"You have to praise the officials for the two decisions in the second half as they were both correct. I have mixed feelings about using the pitch-side monitor. We're debating the referee's decision on the pitch and then the VAR officials also can't decide so they send it back to the referee. For the decisions that were crucial in the game, the referees got the decisions right."
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl: "It's a new season and I think we've seen that we're not on the same level because of a few reasons. Pre-season was a different one to usual where I'd have all the players around me. It wasn't the easiest game today. We made a good start but after conceding the first goal it was tough.
"We had a lot of possession but we weren't stressing the opponent. But we then had good chances for the equaliser in the second period but they had a good goalkeeper who made some saves.
"It's important to use the screen more and it was the right thing to look at it again. I think it was the right decision. We only had two weeks to prepare for this game so it was certainly not the perfect pre-season but I don't want to search for excuses. We haven't been good enough today. All I can say is that we'll guarantee to do things better in the coming weeks."
Analysis: Saints response fizzles out
Sky Sports' Glen Johnson:
Palace were worth the points in the end. Southampton were just too easy to play against. They had a lot of possession but they weren't dangerous. Palace were setting traps and pressing together at the right times; because the Southampton full-backs were so high, Palace could roll it down the line into space for [Jeffrey] Schlupp and Zaha.
Zaha was at the heart of everything they did; it certainly wasn't the performance of a man who wants to get away. Southampton only had themselves to blame. They were rolling the ball about like it was a friendly in the first half. They looked more dangerous in the second half but that soon fizzled out.
Transfer Update: Zaha, Boufal, Eze, Salisu
Zaha played alongside [Jordan] Ayew in an advanced role as both sides lined up in a 4-4-2 formation and the forward took his winning goal with aplomb. A summer rarely goes by without the 27-year-old being linked with a move away from Selhurst Park but it has been relatively quiet window surrounding his future.
There remains three weeks where business can be conducted, but Hodgson acknowledged after the game that he will remain a Palace player until his valuation is met.
"We hope Wilf stays," he said. "He's made noises in every window that I've been Palace manager that he might want to play elsewhere, but for that to happen, a club has to come along and pay the market price. Until someone comes in and wants to buy him, he has to play with us."
Eze showed glimpses of his potential during his 10-minute cameo and Hodgson described him as a "confident young man" after watching the encouraging first minutes of his fledgling Palace career.
Sky Sports' Johnson said: "Southampton were tiring when he came on but he looked explosive, he showed some really nice touches and he ran at his man when he could. You can tell he's got potential to be a serious player for Palace."
As for Southampton, their £11m signing Mohammed Salisu was left out of the squad and manager Hasenhuttl revealed it will take a period of time for the Ghanaian to adjust to the pace of the Premier League.
Asked when fans can expect to see Salisu in action, Hasenhuttl said: "It's difficult to say. We know that he's got some issues and it'll take some time but he's working with the physios so let's have a look at when he's back."
On bringing in reinforcements, the Austrian added: "The market is open and we know that we lost a No 6. We need alternatives and you can be sure that we're looking for one.
"We know our limits but we'll have a look. We know our squad is not the biggest one and we have a lot of young players but we do need alternatives in some positions."
When asked about the future of Sofiane Boufal - who was omitted from the matchday squad - Hasenhuttl said: "We have one or two players who could move on and Sofiane is one of them."
Man of the match - Vicente Guaita
This was not the same Southampton that only lost once following the restart last term, but Palace were still indebted to their goalkeeper for making five crucial saves to preserve their slender lead.
With several key defenders missing, it was imperative that the Spaniard made a fast start to the campaign and he showed once more why he is preferred to Wales No 1 Wayne Hennessey with an important late contribution to deny Ings.
Eagles maintain opening record - Opta stats
- Crystal Palace have gone unbeaten in three consecutive top-flight season openers for the first time since 1969-70 to 1971-72.
- Among teams to have played in at least 10 Premier League seasons, Southampton have the worst win percentage on MD1 in the competition, winning just two out of 22 (9.1%).
- Southampton have won just one of their last 14 Premier League season openers (D7 L6), failing to win any of the last seven such games (D4 L3).
- Wilfried Zaha has been directly involved in 60 Premier League goals for Crystal Palace (37 goals, 23 assists), 28 more than any other player for the club in the competition.
- Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend has provided more Premier League assists versus Southampton than he has against any other side in the competition (4).
Crystal Palace travel to face Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm) before visiting Manchester United in the Premier League next Saturday, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 5.30pm).
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Southampton host Brentford in their Carabao Cup opener on Wednesday (kick-off 7.45pm) before Tottenham are the visitors to St Mary's on Sunday at noon.