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March 18 2018 3.38pm

A Bridge too far for Eagles

March 10 2018

Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt

Crystal Palace put up a late fight but were beaten 2-1 away to Chelsea.

Palace managed to claw their way back into the game with an improved second half after going 2-0 down at the break, but in the end, they found champions Chelsea too strong.

The Blues dominated right from the first whistle and Palace struggled to keep them at bay, though Andros Townsend did clip the roof of the net on a rare attack.

It came no surprise when they took the lead on 24 minutes, as Willian's low shot on the edge of the area slightly fortuitously went through Palace players' legs and took a slight deflection to go in off the post.

Seven minutes later, Chelsea scored another when Marcos Alonso's cross was left by Willian for Eden Hazard who laid off to Davide Zappacosta. His shot was cleared by Martin Kelly but the ball hit Wayne Hennessey's head and back off the defender and over the line.

It began to look grim for the Eagles, who were aiming for a third successive win at Stamford Bridge, as the hosts piled on the pressure. James Tomkins made a fantastic block to deny Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard had a 'goal' disallowed for offside.

Eagles manager Roy Hodgson threw on on fit-again Wilfried Zaha for the ineffective Christian Benteke at the break and the winger had a marked effect on his team.

Zaha's hassling of defender Andreas Christensen help set up Alexander Sorloth, but the Norway international's shot struck the post.

However, Willian, Hazard and Giroud all had opportunities to extend Chelsea's advantage as the home side turned the screw.

The Eagles did get the ball in the Chelsea net with a Sorloth strike but referee Anthony Taylor harshly ruled it out for a high boot by Jairo Riedewald on Gary Cahill, even though he had stooped his head down low.

Palace pulled one back in the last minute with a second successive goal from Patrick van Aahnholt who put away Zaha's assist, but the Eagles ran out of time to mount a comeback.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Christensen, Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas (Bakayoko 88), Alonso, Willian, Hazard (Pedro 88), Giroud (Morata 72).

Not used: Caballero, Moses, Emerson, Ampadu.

Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Townsend (Lee 81), Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp (Riedewald 75), Sorloth, Benteke (Zaha 46).

Not used: Cavalieri, Souare, Fosu-Mensah, Sakho.

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