Match Report – Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth


Christian Benteke’s missed penalty denied Crystal Palace a Premier League victory as Jermain Defoe’s stunning lob earned Bournemouth a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park.

Benteke wrestled the ball off regular penalty taker Luka Milivojevic – who had already converted a first-half spot-kick – only to see his added-time effort saved by Asmir Begovic.

The Belgium striker’s scoreless run now extends to 12 games, charting to back to Palace’s 4-0 win over Hull City at Selhurst Park in May.

His penalty miss yesterday cost Roy Hodgson’s side two vital points in their battle to beat the Premier League drop, and left Milivojevic furious at being denied the chance for a second goal.

So Defoe’s brace secured the Cherries a share of the spoils, with the 35-year-old striker passing 200 career league goals in south London.

Milivojevic’s penalty and a Scott Dann strike had given Palace a 2-1 lead, only for Defoe to conjure a chip of such quality as to silence the home crowd.

Despite the late drama, Defoe’s second goal proved a finish of ageless quality and fully merited the securing a point for the visitors.

Palace extended their unbeaten league run to five matches, but boss Roy Hodgson’s side boast just one win in that stretch.

The Eagles also lost defender Mamadou Sakho to what appeared a worrying calf injury in another blow to the relegation battlers.

Defoe drew first blood with a simple finish after Palace’s midfielders sat too deep and left him unmarked at a corner.

The England hitman spun clear and slotted home first time from Andrew Surman’s low ball, to quieten the rowdy home faithful.

Bournemouth maintained their pressure, but Defoe could not squeeze home from a tight angle under pressure from James Tomkins.

Palace then lost talismanic captain Sakho to that calf injury, which will doubtless hand boss Hodgson another unwanted headache.

Defoe failed to convert another chance when Julian Speroni beat him to his nudge forward in the box.

And the Cherries paid the price for that profligacy when Zaha drew a penalty, creating just enough contact from Begovic by dragging his leg to force referee Kevin Friend to award the spot kick.

Milivojevic buried the penalty to put Palace level at 1-1, and just three minutes later the hosts were ahead.

Defender Dann tapped home Yohan Cabaye’s drilled cross following a six-yard box scramble to send the Palace fans into raptures.

The home supporters had not even stopped celebrating when Defoe silenced the stadium with a stunning finish to draw the Cherries level at 2-2.

The former Sunderland star lobbed Speroni from a tight angle from the inside right position, taking the ball first time after it dropped over his shoulder.

Defoe fluffed a fine chance by his standards to complete his hat trick early in the second-half, striking wide with a first-time effort from Junior Stanislas’s low cross.

Dann should have put Palace back ahead when latching on to Benteke’s header, only to blast high over the bar from just three yards out.

Milivojevic also botched a fine opening late on as Bournemouth edged to the draw. Cherries manager Eddie Howe hailed 35-year-old Defoe for ending a run of seven games without a goal.

“They were two really good finishes,” said Howe.

“I’m really pleased with both goals. They were totally different finishes as well.

“For the second, from that angle he had no right to score, and that’s his unique talent.”

Palace boss Hodgson was confronted by a supporter as he left the field at full time, and revealed the Eagles fan merely asked him why Benteke had taken the spot-kick.

“There was no altercation, the fan asked a question, which I answered,” said Hodgson.

“He asked me a question, and a valid one. He said ‘Why did you tell Benteke to take the penalty?’ and I said I didn’t.”

Asked if Benteke would be told again not to step up for future penalty duties, Hodgson added: “I think he’s been told that already.

“The next time there’s a penalty, after missing one that’s deprived us of two very valuable points, I can’t imagine he’ll be racing for the ball again.” The Belgium striker’s fourth penalty miss of the calendar year stretched his goalless run to 12 matches, with Hodgson insisting he deserves to suffer the wrath of the Selhurst Park fans.

Hodgson added: “We expected Luka (Milivojevic) to take it, he’s our designated penalty taker.

“For some reason Christian persuaded him to let him take it, and then he missed it. I think Christian is stunned, shocked and very disappointed.

“But I actually thought he played well, the best I’ve seen him play in a Palace shirt in my time here.

“It’s a great disappointment. Rather than crown that performance he’s put himself in a bit of a black hole with Palace supporters because he’s missed.

“He was booed off at the end because having seen us work as hard as we did in the second half, when the referee blew for that penalty the fans thought we’d won it.

“Then he missed it. I’m afraid you have to accept he’ll be booed off the field, and that’s not just here, that’s anywhere around the world.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.