Football: Pragmatic Palace hang on for a point

A late equaliser from Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister saw Crystal Palace draw 1-1 with Brighton in their Premier League match on Sunday.

Palace had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Wilfried Zaha converted a penalty but they could not hang on for the win in a game that Brighton dominated having over 65 per cent possession. 

Palace manager Roy Hodgson praised the way his team defended despite only having one shot on target.

“I’m very proud of our defence because they answered those questions until last three or four minutes,” he said. 

Palace fortune

It was Brighton who started the better team. Adam Lallana fired an early shot wide from range and Yves Bissouma hit the side-netting after Palace keeper Vicente Guaita had flapped at a corner.

It was Palace, however, who took a perhaps undeserved lead in the 19th minute after Andros Townsend floated in a cross from the right flank, and Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey pulled down Palace striker Michy Batshuayi which lead to referee Stuart Atwell giving a penalty.

Zaha stepped up and the Ivorian winger made no mistake with his penalty dispatching it low to the right and scoring his 7th goal against Brighton.

Brighton dominance

 Palace’s Joel Ward blocked Brighton in the 55th minute Photo: Adrian/Shutterstock

Palace did have a goal ruled out for offside in the 52nd minute. Michy Batshuyi was played in behind the Brighton defence and fired home a rifled finish but he was adjudged to have been offside which VAR proved to be the case.

In the 55th minute Brighton striker Neal Maupay was played in by Adam Lallana, but the Frenchman elected to cut inside instead of shooting first time and eventually had his shot blocked by Palace’s Joel Ward.

Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell was perhaps lucky to avoid being sent off after having a clash with Lamptey. Mitchell had been booked two minutes earlier for a cynical drag back on Brighton’s Leandro Trossard.

Lewis Dunk headed a Trossard free kick wide in the 66th minute and Brighton really began to pile the pressure on Palace but the Eagles were resolute at the back until the 89th minute.

Brighton were pushing for an equaliser and somewhat fortunately the ball dropped to second half substitute Alexis Mac Allister who rifled home a half volley into the bottom left corner, aided by a slight deflection off a Palace defender to take it past Guaita.

Seven minutes of injury time were added and Brighton were pushing for a winner until the 93rd minute when defender Lewis Dunk was sent off for a late lunging tackle on Gary Cahill.

The managers verdict

Roy Hodgson was disappointed that his side didn’t hold on for all three points but admitted Brighton were the better of the two teams on the day.

“When you concede the equaliser so late in the game having held onto your 1-0 lead for so long, it’s a feeling of disappointment because we were so close to taking all three points which our outstandingly good defensive performance might have given us some reason to be pleased about,” he said. 

On the penalty awarded to his side Hodgson said: “It didn’t look like the clearest of penalties, that’s for sure, but the referee was well-placed and he must’ve seen contact.”

Hodgson’s opposite number, Brighton manager Graham Potter, was happy with his teams’ performance but disappointed that they didn’t win. “Overall, if you look at the game, I thought we created some good chances, reduced them to not too much and I was happy for the boys that they came away with something from the game,” he said. 

In their next fixture, Crystal Palace will make a short trip for a London derby against Fulham on Saturday whereas Brighton will play West Brom at home in their next fixture next Monday night.

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