Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace

A finely-tuned performance earned Crystal Palace their first away victory since May, with goals from Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako firing them past Leicester City at the King Power stadium.

The Eagles dominated from start to finish. Early on Leicester failed to clear their lines and Palace repeatedly came at them with purpose. Jeffrey Schlupp took it upon himself to surge past the entire Foxes defence and into the area but his cut back somehow evaded Christian Benteke and was cleared after just six minutes.

Harry Maguire headed wide from a corner a few minutes later before Kasper Schmeichel got down well to beat away a snapshot from Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the Eagles counter-attacked.

Vicente Iborra then snatched at an effort and fired into the ground and wide when under little pressure just inside the area.

Finally, though, came a breakthrough for Palace on their travels. An inch-perfect cross from out wide by Andros Townsend found the head of Benteke who nodded past Schmeichel to score their first away goal of the season on 19 minutes.

There was almost an immediate, ironic, sting in the tail for the away side, when the Belgian striker came within a whisker of cancelling out his own effort with a header from a Leicester corner. Fortunately for him, as his team-mates held their breath, it landed just wide of Julian Speroni’s goal.

With five minutes of the first-half to go, the Eagles were in dreamland. Riyad Mahrez wastefully lost possession just inside their half, James McArthur found Benteke in space, and the striker subsequently played a delightful pass to the feet of Zaha who in turn beat his man and doubled the lead in emphatic fashion.

It was not a goal borne out of nothing, with the Ivorian taking Maguire out of the equation with brilliant feet; it took just one step to break away and receive the pass before he lashed it in.

This was a much-improved performance from Palace. No longer were they treading water and coming up with the goods late-on. They took the game to the Foxes, despite their injury troubles and the suspension of Luka Milivojevic, and they executed their game-plan expertly.

Speroni did well to parry a fierce drive by Mahrez, whilst Harry Maguire saw yellow for charging through the back of James Tomkins as the hosts became increasingly frustrated by the compact blocks of four ahead of them.

Benteke will miss the trip to Swansea next week after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season for a high foot on Iborra.

The game sprung back into life on the hour mark when Iborra thought he had pulled a goal back with a header, but it was correctly ruled out for a shove on Tomkins.

Minutes later Leicester attacked again and Wilfred Ndidi burst into the box only to go down under no contact from Scott Dann. Referee Martin Atkinson was well placed and with the midfielder already having received a booking, he was sent off for a second, much to the fury of the home support.

Zaha was mercurial throughout, and his skill took him into the area and he crossed for Benteke would go down under a challenge from Marc Albrighton, who did not appear to win any of the ball, but Atkinson waved away the Palace protests. Maguire resorted to fouling his man, and the away fans gleefully taunted “he’s just too good for you!”

Palace held their nerve and saw the game out well, barely allowing their opponents a sight of goal, and in stoppage time Loftus-Cheek played a superb one-two with Zaha, powered towards the box and squared for substitute Bakary Sako who made it three as they eased to victory.


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