BY SAM SMITH
Crystal Palace produced a toothless performance as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Leeds United.
An early deflected Jack Harrison strike handed the Lilywhites an early lead at Elland Road. Former Palace loanee Patrick Bamford’s second-half finish – his 100th club goal in English football – cut short the Eagles’ run of two-consecutive wins.
Harrison’s driving run after three minutes culminated in the winger hammering a shot that hit Gary Cahill, wrong-footing Vicente Guaita, and finding the roof of the net.
Roy Hodgson’s side struggled to find a way into the match. Patrick van Aanholt was used in an unfamiliar advanced position on the left wing, ahead of left-back Tyrick Mitchell, and the plan failed to work. The Dutchman was taken off at half-time.
Jean-Philippe Mateta made his long-awaited debut but failed to make an impact – albeit his task against Leeds’ strong three-man defence was tough.
Bamford – who struggled during a nine-match loan spell at Selhurst Park in 2015-16 – secured the win for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Guaita kept out Raphinha’s effort, but the ball fell kindly to Bamford to slide home.
The South Londoners had a few chances to haul themselves back into the game. Eberechi Eze skied over after good work from Michy Batshuayi.
Andros Townsend struck an effort straight at Ilian Meslier from distance. Christian Benteke then saw an effort well kept out by the Leeds goalkeeper.
The margin of Leeds’ victory should perhaps have been larger. Guaita made an excellent stop to prevent Stuart Dallas before Harrison thumped a shot against the crossbar.
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