BY SAM SMITH
VAR was at the centre of the controversy once again for Crystal Palace as they lost 2-0 against Manchester United.
The technology had contentiously ruled out a Mamadou Sakho goal against Aston Villa at the weekend. Here at Selhurst Park, the officials in Stockley Park failed to award the Eagles a penalty when Wilfried Zaha was felled by Victor Lindelof and then ruled out a Jordan Ayew goal when the striker’s toe was millimetres ahead of the United back four.
Palace started on the front foot, just like they had done against Chelsea in their previous match at Selhurst Park. Zaha tested David de Gea after taking on Aaron Wan-Bissaka before Patrick van Aanholt had an effort blocked.
This was a much better performance by the Eagles compared to the display in their 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa at the weekend. Zaha had another chance but headed over – Andros Townsend might have been better placed to take the chance had the Ivorian let the ball run to his fellow winger.
Wan-Bissaka – back at Selhurst for the first time since his £50million move to the Red Devils last summer – had a weak attempt blocked. The South Londoner is still without a senior goal. Harry Maguire twice headed over for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the first half.
Zaha had a very strong argument for a penalty against his former club but referee Graham Scott and VAR decided Lindelof won the ball fairly from the 27-year-old. The Swede also took a very large chunk of Zaha.
Just two minutes later, United led through Marcus Rashford. The forward collected the ball inside the penalty area, feigned to shoot which took away Joel Ward, Van Aanholt and Guaita, and rolled the ball into the opposite, unguarded corner.
VAR would again deter Palace early in the second half. Ayew had appeared to have equalised, sliding in to convert Zaha’s cross, but VAR official Simon Hooper adjudged the Ghanaian to have been a fraction offside.
At the other end, Guaita saved from Rashford and Bruno Fernandes flashed a shot wide. The Spanish midfielder then struck the post with 15 minutes remaining.
But the visitors eventually earned a second when a well-worked move ended with Rashford played in Anthony Martial, and the Frenchman finished clinically beyond Guaita. A worrying injury suffered by Van Aanholt in the aftermath will provide further worry for Hodgson as he seeks to end a run of six defeats.
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