Striker Ben­teke dou­ble ends Palace mis­ery

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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A dou­ble from Bel­gian in­ter­na­tional striker Chris­tian Ben­teke in­spired Crys­tal Palace to a 3-0 win over Southamp­ton and saved man­ager Alan Pardew’s job in end­ing a six match Premier League los­ing streak yes­ter­day.

Ben­teke’s brace-tak­ing his tally to seven this sea­son-and a goal from James Tomp­kins gave the hosts a de­served vic­tory against a poor Southamp­ton side, who ended the week with the club em­broiled in the sex abuse scan­dal dat­ing back to the 1970s.

It had been re­ported in some of the Bri­tish me­dia that if Palace had lost Pardew-who only months ago was min­utes away from de­liv­er­ing Palace the FA Cup be­fore Manch­ester United came back to rip it from their hands-would have been shown the door.

Palace had the best chance of the open­ing half hour Wil­fried Zaha get­ting to the by-line and his cross was met by Ben­teke but his header whis­tled past Fraser Forster’s post.

Forster, though, was to have a mo­ment one dreads es­pe­cially when it is in front of the watch­ing Eng­land man­ager Gareth South­gate-who played for Palace in the 1990’s-in gift­ing the hosts their first goal.

Forster aimed to clear the ball with his left foot but missed it, it came off his right foot and Ben­teke was on hand to tap it home for his sixth goal of the sea­son and put them ahead in the 33rd minute.

Palace dou­bled their lead three min­utes later as the pre­vi­ously measly Saints de­fence-who prior to the game had the third best de­fen­sive record in the league-were again caught nap­ping Tomkins nip­ping to to prod home from a cou­ple of yards out.

Southamp­ton of­fered lit­tle in at­tack-Sofi­ane Bo­ufal’s mis-timed vol­ley early in the sec­ond-half en­demic of their lack of bite in at­tack-and man­ager Claude Puel moved to change things just be­fore the hour mark send­ing on teenager Josh Sims.

Sims added much needed en­ergy to Southamp­ton’s at­tack and went close alo­most im­me­di­ately, Bo­ufal tee­ing him up and the 19-yearold un­leashed a fine left-footed ef­fort which went close. —AFP

LON­DON: Crys­tal Palace Southamp­ton 3

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