- Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa

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Tuesday 2 December 2014 | Selhurst Park | Referee: Michael Oliver | Attendance 23,935

Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace
0 - 1
Aston Villa
  • Christian Benteke (32)
Aston Villa

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Match report

Christian Benteke returned from a three-match ban to score the winning goal in Aston Villa's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory at Crystal Palace.

The Belgium striker was immediately restored to Villa's starting XI for Tuesday's clash at Selhurst Park after serving a suspension for a red card in a 2-1 loss against Spurs last month.

And he broke the deadlock with a composed finish in the first half to help Paul Lambert's men end a nine-match winless run.

Crystal Palace offered an early threat in a strong start to the contest with Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie impressing on the wings. But their profligacy was punished by Benteke's first goal since March just after the half-hour mark, with the striker having suffered an Achilles injury in April.

Crystal Palace again enjoyed spells of pressure in the first half yet an equaliser failed to materialise as Villa held on to climb to 12th in the table, leapfrogging the Eagles in the process.

Palace made a bright start and Ciaran Clark had to be alert to clear off the line in the fifth minute when Brad Guzan spilled Bolasie's long-range shot. Scott Dann hammered the loose ball in the goal but the whistle had already gone for an offside against Dwight Gayle.

Zaha, one of two Crystal Palace changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw at Swansea City, was proving a threat down the right and he saw claims for a penalty waved away when he went to ground in the area after a challenge from Tom Cleverley.

Aston Villa were forced into a change when Joe Cole went down injured, but the visitors slowly started to get a foothold in the match and Benteke forced Julian Speroni into action with a smart turn and shot from the edge of the area.

Benteke was celebrating in the 32nd minute, though, after he dispossessed Dann on the left and drove towards goal before bending his effort low into the bottom right-hand corner.

Undeterred, Crystal Palace finished the half strongly, with Zaha and Bolasie both stinging the palms of Guzan.

Crystal Palace continued to press after the restart. Fraizer Campbell, on at half-time for Gayle, drew several defenders on the left and the space allowed Bolasie to cross for Chamakh, whose diving header went wide.

Campbell was in the thick of the action again on the hour, the striker protesting for a penalty after being nudged to ground by Clark.

After withstanding a spell of Palace pressure, Andreas Weimann could have wrapped up the points for Villa when the ball fell kindly for him in the box and his half-volley was well saved by the legs of Speroni.

As the clock wound down, Palace caused plenty of problems for the Villa defence by bombarding the area with crosses and Zaha's last-minute centre narrowly evaded Campbell and Bolasie, but the visitors survived for their first Barclays Premier League win since September.

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock: "I think if we had Christian Benteke we would have won comfortably and that is what we are looking for in January. We are just missing that quality at the front.

"We do need that Benteke and they are hard to come by. Hopefully we can get one sooner rather than later.

"I can't fault the lads and now we have to do it the difficult way and get points at some tough places. We didn't create enough in the box. Sometimes you have to make your own luck and we didn't do that, although we huffed and puffed. We are shooting ourselves in the foot."

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "We are unbeaten in four and have and won at a difficult place. Coming here was a massive result but I thought it was well-deserved.

"I thought it was a big, big performance. I have played with some world-class strikers and Christian Benteke, if he keeps progressing, could be one of the best. The performance was massive for us.

"We are up to 12th, we have had a lot of players out, so the progress is there. I understand the disappointment because Aston Villa are a huge, huge football club. We were resolute."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Julian Speroni - 5.86
6. Scott Dann - 5.37
34. Martin Kelly - 5.38
4. Brede Hangeland - 5.78
2. Joel Ward - 5.53
18. James McArthur - 5.81
11. Wilfried Zaha - 5.77
7. Yannick Bolasie - 5.8
15. Mile Jedinak - 5.82
16. Dwight Gayle - 6.04
29. Marouane Chamakh - 5.17
Substitutes All Fans BFR
25. Barry Bannan - 4.63
14. Jerome Thomas - 2.5
10. Fraizer Campbell - 5.23
42. Jason Puncheon - 5.19
36. Hiram Boateng - -
19. Ezekiel Fryers - 7.75
13. Wayne Hennessey - 4.37
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Brad Guzan 5.0 5.8
6. Ciaran Clark - 4.14
5. Jores Okore - 3.78
21. Alan Hutton - 5.35
23. Aly Cissokho - 4.82
15. Ashley Westwood - 5.12
12. Joe Cole - 1.81
8. Tom Cleverley - 4.43
10. Andreas Weimann - 5.49
11. Gabriel Agbonlahor - 5.62
20. Christian Benteke 9.0 4.9
Substitutes All Fans BFR
34. Matthew Lowton - 3.36
31. Shay Given - 2.68
40. Jack Grealish - 4.53
18. Kieran Richardson - 4.97
28. Charles N'Zogbia - 4.68
24. Carlos Sánchez 10.0 4.55
17. Chris Herd - 1.5

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