Crystal Palace Match Report
The first half was quite incredible, with all five goals, and if it weren’t for some appalling defending from both teams it wouldn’t have been quite so entertaining, but Palace clearly dominated the opening 45 minutes, only to allow Brighton back into it with some terrible marking at set-pieces.
The atmosphere inside Selhurst Park was electric and all four sides of the ground were shaking, the away fans reduced to a whimper every now and then. In truth Brighton were shown up both on and off the pitch for the entire 90 minutes, but that is standard procedure these days.
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In midfield, Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur excelled, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Luka Milivojevic took things to a whole new level. Milivojevic dinked a beautiful cross to Zaha who headed past Mathew Ryan for his second goal. His first came from Milivojevic short-corner and subsequent drilled shot which Ryan could only parry across the goalline and Zaha was there to tap in.
Brighton’s defending was comical at times, but they were also indebted to Ryan for a handful of strong saves otherwise Palace would have been out of sight at half-time.
Joel Ward was torn apart by Jose Izquierdo in the first-half and Mamadou Sakho’s defending was also extremely suspect at times, but Palace certainly deserved to win the game. Glenn Murray was kind enough to miss a handful of absolute sitters, including a gilt-edged chance in the final moments of the game.
There is nothing better than getting one over on your rivals, and Brighton should have learnt by now that as Mark Bright once said of them, there are teachers and there are pupils, they should know their place.
Wilfried Zaha, king of South London
Zaha is South London’s finest. There is no doubt. Nobody comes close. The last time he scored a brace? Brighton away in the Championship play-off semi-final. The last time he scored a header in the league? Brighton away in the Championship play-off semi-final. No wonder they are so bitter, he single handedly destroys them every time he plays.
His pace unsettled Lewis Dunk, caused Dale Stephens to lose his head, unnerved Schelloto, ruined Gaten Bong, and tore the Brighton defence apart. They had no answer to his pace and skill… except to hack him down. But when you know you are inferior the only thing you can do is kick out.
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Football is better for the intensity of rivalries
Is there anything better than a good old-fashioned rivalry? Fans who go to games are the people who matter, the ones who create the atmosphere, who support their clubs and make an intense feeling around the game. This was aided by the high tempo with which Palace played early on, but the fans were up for it, Selhurst was bouncing, there was a slight edge but this was where it was at. The best game of the season by some distance in the Spring sunshine. Brighton arriving significantly earlier than any other club spoke volumes. They were afraid. Rightly so.
Should you be as magnanimous in victory as in defeat? No, not when it’s Brighton. Not when it’s the hypocrisy of their fans. Flares? Oh no, we can’t have that. So when they threw two onto the pitch one wonders how they will react. Condemnation? Doubt it.
Know your place.
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