Wilfried Zaha stars as Crystal Palace bounce back to beat Aston Villa

Patrick Vieira’s side pick up first win of season

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Wilfried Zaha underlined his importance to Crystal Palace with a crucial double as his side picked up a first Premier League win of the season by battling back to beat Aston Villa 3-1.

The influential forward swiftly cancelled out Ollie Watkins’ early opener at Selhurst Park before converting on the rebound after his second-half penalty was saved by Emiliano Martinez.

Substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta grabbed the Eagles’ clinching goal with his first touch, with Zaha again involved.

Star man Zaha, who claimed the opener in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool, has now scored in each of the Eagles’ last seven top-flight victories and was afforded a standing ovation when he was brought off late on.

Patrick Vieira’s hosts also had a Jeffrey Schlupp goal disallowed for offside during a dominant performance.

Villa faded fast from the rapid start and, although they hit the crossbar through Leon Bailey at 1-1, manager Steven Gerrard left London with plenty to ponder.

We worked hard," said Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze, who was another one of their outstanding performers. "We wanted to put in a good performance at home and get the three points, which we did.

"It was a difficult start but we did what we could, put in good performances and it paid off."

Villa defender Lucas Digne handled the ball in the penalty area after the break and Zaha's initial shot from the spot was saved, but the Ivorian striker made no error on the rebound in the 58th minute.

A second defeat from three matches this season will heap the pressure on Gerrard and questions will be asked about the manner in which his team capitulated in the second half.

"It's a step backwards on the back of last week," said Gerrard. "It wad the perfect start for us, we looked dangerous going forward but we never kept the lead for long enough. We allowed Palace back into the game.

"The game ran away from us. We didn't defend well in the big moments and we've been punished."

Updated: August 20, 2022, 5:22 PM
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