Crystal Palace eased any worries of relegation with a hard-fought victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Eagles skipper Luka Milivojevic scored the decisive goal from the spot after Wilfried Zaha had been felled in the penalty box by DeAndre Yedlin late on.
Both sides had seen goals disallowed in the first half; Salomon Rondon was called offside after bundling home Matt Ritchie’s knock down before James Tomkins fired in from a corner only for the flag to be raised due to James McArthur’s offside position.
The victory lifts Palace to 12th while the Magpies drop to 15th, though they are still seven points clear of Cardiff who currently occupy the final spot in the relegation zone.
Had Palace beaten Watford last month they would have had an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to look forward to this weekend. Instead, it was a trip to St James’ Park in the Premier League.
The hosts dominated for much of the first period and Eagles keeper Vicente Guaita was called into action on a number of occasions to deny Rondon.
Palace, however, held firm and looked dangerous on the break.
And it was from a lightning counter-attack with which they found the winner as Zaha skipped past Fabian Schar before being fouled by Yedlin. The skipper did the rest from the spot.
Milivojevic has now scored 11 goals across all competitions this season and, incredibly, 10 of those have come from the spot.
“This three points will guarantee [us staying up],” Milivojevic said.
“Today our game over 90 minutes was very good. We controlled the game in the second half.
“This season I have scored a lot [of penalties] which is not easy but we cannot forget the attacking players with a lot of quality and skills [to win the penalties].”
While it would have taken an extraordinary run of results to see Palace relegated with the 36 they held before Saturday’s game, they are now just one point off the 40-point mark.
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Source – BBC