A solitary goal by Wilfried Zaha handed Crystal Palace an opening day victory against Southampton.
Zaha converted in the 13th minute for the Eagles and then had a late goal disallowed by VAR, which was also used to overturn a red card shown to Kyle Walker-Peters.
Southampton started the better of the two sides – Jack Stephens had an early header well kept out by Vicente Guaita. The Spaniard then thwarted Danny Ings as the striker sought to bear down on goal.
But it was Palace who led through Zaha. The forward met Andros Townsend’s cross to steer a volley past Alex McCarthy. It was a chance that the less confident version of the Ivorian from last season may have missed, but a prolific streak in the friendlies seems to have put the previous campaign’s poor goal return behind the 27-year-old.
This was an excellent performance by Roy Hodgson’s side against a Saints team who will impress many this season with their high-energy, attack-minded football. Palace were organised, defended well and counter-attacked effectively.
It was not until the second half when this game truly livened up. Kyle Walker-Peters was initially shown a straight red card by referee Jon Moss for a late challenge on Tyrick Mitchell. However, the official downgraded his decision to just a yellow card for the full-back having reviewed the footage on the pitchside screen.
Guaita then denied Ings an equaliser with a stunning save, reacting quickly to block the forward’s powerful strike from close range. Ward-Prowse went close from a free-kick soon after.
Roy Hodgson handed a debut to new signing Ebere Eze, who replaced Jeffrey Schlupp for the final 10 minutes and fitted in seamlessly.
He was involved in a move that saw Zaha have a late goal disallowed – the scorer had strayed just offside and his effort was overturned by VAR. Zaha struck wide a similar chance in added-time.
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