BY ROB SUTHERLAND
Crystal Palace secured all three points against in-form Burnley with goals from Wilfried Zaha and second-half substitute Jeffrey Schlupp.
Following a tetchy first half in which Palace were unable to make their dominance count, Zaha put the visitors a goal up with an effort just as extra-time was announced.
Zaha, a thorn in Burnley’s side for long spells of the half, shaped to cross only to drop his left shoulder, ghost past Phil Bardsley and fire the ball past Nick Pope.
Having crossed the ball in similar positions previously, it was an impressive piece of deception from the attacker to create the opportunity for himself.
Zaha has scored twice in two games, having struggled to find the back of the net at the start of this season.
Palace then consolidated their lead in the 79th minute with a strike from Schlupp. Burnley defender Ben Mee fluffed his clearance, which dropped to an unmarked Schlupp. He took a touch, and like Zaha, thundered the ball past England goalkeeper Pope at his near post.
Much of Palace’s fine performance came thanks to their defensive strength. Palace dealt with Burnley’s direct approach play and nullified the threat of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. When opportunities did present themselves, first in the 57th minute and then again in the 85th, profligate finishing and an excellent save kept them at bay.
Wood had been sent clear on goal following a slip from Scott Dann only to put the ball high over the bar with their first chance, and Barnes’ header was saved excellently by Vicente Guaita in the 85th minute.
Burnley’s other threat was their winger Dwight McNeil, who twice saw shots saved well by Guaita. Despite numerous crosses, Palace held firm.
Manager Roy Hodgson surprised a few by naming Scott Dann in place of the injured Gary Cahill. Dann was preferred over Mamadou Sakho at the centre of defence alongside James Tomkins.
Dann, who has been no stranger to injury issues, was substituted for Sakho later in the game, having looked like he was carrying a knock for most of the first half.
Palace’s defensive solidity gave the attacking unit the foundations to build upon.
Palace hadn’t played a game outside of London since the start of August, a Premier League record. They have faced every team in the top half of the Premier League table and are 10th in the standings.
The Eagles face Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.
PICTURES BY SEAN GOSLING
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