BY SAM SMITH
A Wilfried Zaha brace earned Crystal Palace a sensational 3-1 victory at Manchester United to hand the Eagles two wins from two at the start of the season.
The forward struck twice in the second half after Andros Townsend had given Palace an early lead. Donny van de Beek had made it 2-1 before Zaha slammed in the game-clinching goal immediately after.
Palace started excellently. They pressed high, were energetic and deserved their lead in the seventh minute. Jeffrey Schlupp crossed for Andros Townsend to steer beyond David de Gea for his first goal in almost 12 months.
Contrastingly, the Red Devils were poor – perhaps because this was the first match of the season. They grew into the game after the 20-minute mark and Paul Pogba forced Vicente Guaita into a good save. Scott McTominay curled an effort just wide, but they barely tested the Spaniard throughout the game.
De Gea made a great save to deny Jordan Ayew after the Ghanaian had cut inside from the left and powered at goal. A second would not have flattered the Eagles.
De Gea then prevented Ayew again early in the second half after the striker had raced through on goal. Then, Zaha, who was captaining the Eagles in a competitive game for the first time, slipped just as he was about to strike at goal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer introduced Mason Greenwood at half-time and the teenager somehow headed wide just in front of goal. Victor Lindelof lifted over another good chance to equalise.
United would eventually rue those missed opportunities when Zaha scored against his former club for the first time – albeit in slightly controversial circumstances. VAR awarded a penalty when Lindelof blocked Ayew’s stabbed effort with his hand and the Ghanaian had the resulting kick saved.
But the technology then showed De Gea had come off his line before the kick was taken. Martin Atkinson awarded a retake and Zaha replaced Ayew as the taker – lifting his penalty high into the net.
Vn de Beek pulled a goal back on his debut for the hosts – but it was Zaha who sealed the result. The Ivorian held off Lindelof on the edge of the box and hammered a low effort into the corner of De Gea’s goal.
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