English Premier League

Crystal Palace 1 – 0 West Brom

Crystal Palace beat West Brom 1 – 0. Crystal Palace captain Milivojevic scored the game’s only goal from the spot after Baggies defender Darnell Furlong was adjudged by the video assistant referee to have blocked Wilfried Zaha‘s cross with his arm.

Crystal Palace claimed their first home win since January as Luka Milivojevic’s first-half penalty earned the Eagles all three points against West Brom, whose survival hopes took a further hit at Selhurst Park.

Roy Hodgson’s side went close to doubling their lead in the second half but West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone did magnificently to tip Christian Benteke’s powerful effort over the crossbar.

The Belgian striker was played through by Zaha not long afterwards but was denied by Kyle Bartley’s last-ditch tackle. The Baggies rarely looked like salvaging a point, their only shot on target coming courtesy of Mbaye Diagne 18 minutes from time.

The win lifts Palace above Leeds and Wolves into 11th place, while second-bottom West Brom remain eight points from safety.

Returning Zaha ‘stands tall’
Although well-positioned to retain their Premier League status, Palace have struggled to pose much of an attacking threat at Selhurst Park of late. Indeed, Hodgson’s side had failed to score a home goal since Eberechi Eze‘s thumping finish in a 1-0 win over Wolves on 30 January.

The Eagles were boosted by the inclusion of their talisman Zaha, making his first start since 2 February after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Zaha was the only player not to take the knee before kick-off, having recently described the gesture – adopted amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the killing of black American George Floyd – as “degrading” and “something we just do”, while urging his fellow players to “stand tall”.

The Ivory Coast international played a key role in the game’s only goal, his in-swinging cross deflecting off Furlong’s arm and prompting referee Simon Hooper to point to the penalty spot after consulting his pitch-side monitor.

Milivojevic sent Baggies goalkeeper Johnstone the wrong way for his first goal since last June. Twenty-two of the midfielder’s 28 Premier League goals for the club have come from the spot.

Benteke could have added to Palace’s slender advantage in the second half but Hodgson will be more than satisfied with a result that takes his team to 37 points with nine league games remaining.

Time running out for Baggies
Sam Allardyce has conceded it will be a “big task” to guide West Brom to Premier League safety and maintain his own proud record of never having been relegated as a manager.

The Baggies, who have collected just three wins all season, could find themselves 11 points adrift of 17th place if other results go against them this weekend.

The visitors were tidy on the ball at Selhurst Park but lacked incision in the final third and failed to test Vicente Guaita until midway through the second half.

Diagne lost his footing while attempting to steer Okay Yokuslu’s pass past the onrushing Palace goalkeeper, but the forward’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by Hooper.

Matheus Pereira and Matt Phillips had both wasted promising opportunities earlier in the half, while Hal Robson-Kanu only just prevented Conor Townsend’s late effort from going out of play for a Palace throw-in.

Portsmouth and West Ham went on to secure Premier League survival from similar positions in 2006 and 2008 respectively, but it is hard to see the Baggies scoring enough goals to haul themselves out of trouble.

Source – BBC News