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October 31 2020 3.42pm

Palace bag first win of season

September 10 2016

Wilfried Zaha (Photo: Ramzi Musallam)

Wilfried Zaha (Photo: Ramzi Musallam)

Crystal Palace grabbed their first three points of the season with a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough.

Victory came at the fourth attempt to ease the pressure on manager Alan Pardew who will be delighted that record signing Christian Benteke scored his first goal.

Palace started well as Andros Townsend deflected shot just over the bar from outside the area and got their noses in front on 16 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha sent over a diagonal cross from the right and Benteke headed in his maiden Palace goal with ease at the back post.

Palace could have added another when a fine move involving Zaha and Benteke ended with a shot from Townsend that was pushed out by keeper Victor Valdes.

But Boro were on terms in the 37th minute when Stewart Downing's corner was nodded in by defender Daniel Ayala who was totally unchallenged by Damian Delaney.

The hosts almost went in at the break ahead after Viktor Fischer released Alvaro Negredo and his shot was saved by Steve Mandanda's legs.

However, just two minutes after the restart, Palace restored their lead through the impressive Zaha. James McArthur fed a ball towards Zaha on the right and the wideman nicked the ball off George Friend before firing a left-foot shot into the back of the net.

Boro responded with two excellent long-range strikes that flew just off target; the first from Stewart Downing and then Boro centre-back Ben Gibson.

Delaney nodded just over from Jason Puncheon's corner that was flicked on by Scott Dann. Then moments later, Boro players appealed for a penalty after the ball appeared to hit Dann's arm before he hacked away.

With five minutes to go, Benteke was replaced by his 21-year-old brother Jonathan for his Eagles debut. Mathieu Flamini also made his bow as a substitute for Joe Ledley as Palace looked to protect the win.

Despite another penalty shout as Boro claimed the ball smacked Delaney's hand in the box and Zaha went close to giving away a spot-kick with a foul inches outside the box, Palace survived the hairy moments to win it.

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