BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has admitted that Crystal Palace are ‘very fortunate’ to have Vicente Guaita after the goalkeeper made several excellent saves to deny Tottenham Hotspur in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.
The Spaniard prevented Tanguy Ndombele with a smart reflex stop in the first half with the game still goalless. Then, late in the match with the score at 1-1, Guaita sensationally kept out a close-range Harry Kane header before tipping a goal-bound Eric Dier free-kick onto the crossbar.
Kane’s swerving effort from range was the only time Spurs beat Guaita – although the 33-year-old might be disappointed to have not stopped the effort.
Jeffrey Schlupp equalised with 10 minutes remaining. The midfielder pounced on Hugo Lloris’ spilled attempt at saving Eberechi Eze’s set-piece and thrashed the ball into the corner.
Hodgson said: “He (Guaita) was excellent. I thought the team was very, very good. I thought our second-half performance, in particular, was of real top-drawer quality and I thought the equaliser was well deserved after quite a sustained spell when we looked like we were going to get that equaliser.
“But, of course, in the last five minutes or so, in particular, Vicente Guaita showed his true class. We gave away a couple of free-kicks which we were not too happy to have given away, which meant the ball could be delivered into our penalty area. A few also led to corner kicks which meant it could be delivered in again.
“That’s when Vicente had to show his true class. He made two magnificent saves. One from a ball played back in after a ball had somewhat fortunately for us struck the crossbar and bounced wide. The ball was hoisted back in and from the shot from close range he produced a fantastic save.
“And then Eric Dier’s free-kick in the last minutes was going on as well. He had to pull out the stops again. The goalkeeper is a very important part of every team and we are very fortunate that we have a good one.”
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