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Leicester City 0 Crystal Palace 3: Benteke, Eagles end drought

16 December 2017 15:25

Christian Benteke redeemed himself by scoring for the first time this season and ended Crystal Palace's long wait for an away goal as Roy Hodgson's resurgent team defeated Leicester City 3-0 in the Premier League.

Benteke incurred the wrath of his team-mates by taking a penalty against the manager's orders and failing to score in a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth last weekend.

The Belgium international made amends by scoring his first goal of the campaign at King Power Stadium, before setting up Wilfried Zaha for the visitors' second five minutes before half-time. 

Leicester had a goal ruled out and saw Wilfred Ndidi sent off in the second half, as the 2015-16 champions failed to force their way back into the contest, Bakary Sako adding gloss to the scoreline for the visitors with a third in injury time.

Palace are now unbeaten in seven matches since losing 1-0 to Tottenham early last month and, having now moved out of the bottom three, will prepare for another winnable fixture away to bottom-of-the-table Swansea City next weekend.

Having seen their own four-match winning run come to an end, Leicester have a daunting EFL Cup fixture at home to Manchester City coming up on Tuesday, before the visit of Manchester United in the league.

Palace started confidently and threatened the Leicester goal through Jeffrey Schlupp and Ruben Loftus-Cheek inside the first 11 minutes.

But Claude Puel's team did not heed those warning signs, as the visitors capitalised on their early pressure by opening the scoring in the 19th minute.

Andros Townsend cut inside from the right flank and delivered a tempting ball to the centre of the penalty area, where the unmarked Benteke headed his team's first away league goal since April past Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester struggled to mount a meaningful response to going behind and they were two down in the 40th minute. 

Riyad Mahrez gave the ball away inside the Palace half and Benteke led a rapid counterattack before slipping in Zaha, who turned Ben Chilwell inside out and emphatically fired a low finish into the bottom corner.

The Foxes improved after the break and had the ball in the back of the net just after the hour mark, but Vicente Iborra had his header ruled out for a push on James Tomkins. 

And 60 seconds later they found themselves down to 10 men, Ndidi picking up his second bookable offence and an unwanted red card on his birthday for a blatant dive inside the penalty area. 

Palace almost sealed it in the 80th minute, Schmeichel spreading himself wide in a manner reminiscent of his father Peter to deny Benteke from a Townsend cross to the back post. 

The visitors did make it 3-0 in the 94th minute, though, Loftus-Cheek leading a counterattack and squaring for substitute Sako to curl home and consign the Foxes to a first defeat in six matches. 


Key Opta Stats:

- Crystal Palace ended a run of 934 minutes without a Premier League away goal, scoring for the first time since April 23 against Liverpool. It was their first away league win in 11 attempts.
- Since his Premier League debut in September 2012, Benteke has scored 24 headed goals - only Olivier Giroud (27) has netted more in the competition in this period.
- Crystal Palace have gone seven games unbeaten in the English top-flight for the first time since October 1990 (12 games).
- They have also kept three consecutive away clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time.
- This was just Leicester's second Premier League defeat under Claude Puel, with the Foxes winning five of their previous eight since he took charge.
- Roy Hodgson has never lost a competitive match against Leicester City as a manager (P5 W4 D1 L0).

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