Premier League, Selhurst Park – Crystal Palace 2 (Dann 70′ Sako 87′)Aston Villa 1 (Souare 77′)
Crystal Palace beat Aston Villa 2-1 courtesy of a late Bakary Sako winner in their Premier League clash at Selhurst Park.
Both sides had chances in the first half, but it was the goalkeepers who were the best performers. Gabriel Agbonlahor toed a shot straight at Alex McCarthy, who also pulled off an excellent save from Jack Grealish’s surprise shot from a tight angle.
Palace also had a chance, with Sako taking Brad Guzan by surprise with a shot from distance, but the keeper was equal to the shot.
In the second half, Crystal Palace thought they went ahead through James McArthur, but the goal was eventually disallowed as he was ruled offside – the shot from Chris Gayle flicked off his chest and past Guzan. Shortly after, Palace had their goal when Dann thundered in a header at the back post.
Palace kept up the pace, but Villa’s signing from Barcelona, Traore, showed ridiculous pace to burst into the box and force an error from Pape Souare, who put a cross into his own net.
With only a few minutes left on the clock, Sako lashed in a shot to win after Dann teed up the defender as Villa tried to clear a corner.
13’ – AGBONLAHOR SHOT – Agbonlahor is slipped through on goal, but it’s low and easily stopped by McCarthy, getting down to his left.
47’ – SAKO CHANCE – Gayle and Mutch combine, and Mutch rolls a pass along to the back post for Sako, but a desperate dive from Guzan, and Richards, blocks the effort for a corner.
60’ – DISALLOWED GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa. McArthur scores – Gayle receives the ball in the box, lets fly with a shot, and it comes off McArthur – just onside, maybe – and it creeps in at the far post. No! It’s disallowed for offside after an age of waiting.
65’ – SAKO SHOT – Sako meets a cross at the near post, and tries to clip it past the ‘keeper, but it’s a yard wide.
70’ – GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa. Dann scores – Puncheon falls as he shoots from the edge of the box, sending the shot wide, and Sako attempts a cross which is cleared for a corner. Puncheon takes, it comes to the back post for Dann, who thunders a header past Guzan.
77’ – GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-1 Aston Villa. Souare scores – he drives inside Puncheon and past Souare, moving 100 mph faster than everyone else. He pulls back a cross, it bounces off the trailing Souare and into the net.
87’ – GOAL! Crystal Palace 2-1 Aston Villa. Sako scores – Dann works the ball back to Sako after the corner doesn’t work out initially, and he lashes in a shot to the far corner.
Aston Villa’s equaliser was created by Adama Traore, and Palace’s winner was scored by Bakary Sako, both players making their debut in the Premier League.
Tim Sherwood only has a 33% win ratio this season, which is second to some.
MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY
Adama Traore will cause defenders problems this season. He featured only intermittently in a surprise substitute appearance, but his pace alone will make him a danger. He moved at a seriously impressive rate to create the equaliser, and should Villa be able to team him up with Jack Grealish’s eye for a pass, they will stretch teams throughout the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace): Sako arrived on a free transfer from Wolves, and having spent most of his time the lower English divisions, there’s no guarantee he will make the step up. However, he demonstrated an eye for goal and a willingness to shoot from places that might take keepers by surprise.
Crystal Palace: McCarthy 6, Ward 6, Delaney 6, Dann 7, Souare 6, McArthur 6,Cabaye 6, Zaha 6, Puncheon 6, Sako 7, Murray 6. Subs: Jedinak 6, Gayle 7, Mutch 6.
Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Bacuna 6, Richards 6, Clark 6, Amavi 5, Gana 5, Westwood 6, Sanchez 5, Agbonlahor 6, Gestede 6, Grealish 6. Subs: Traore 7.