Palace’s Sako shoots down Villa

Valverde faces up to the reality of Copa del Rey final defeat at the hands of Valencia

A late goal from Bakary Sako earned Crystal Palace all three points as they saw off a plucky Aston Villa 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.

  • Crystal Palace 2 Aston Villa 1
  • Sides goalless at half-time
  • Palace have goal ruled out
  • Dann heads hosts in front
  • Souare puts into own net
  • Sako scores late winner

Match Summary

The hosts thought they had taken the lead after a goalless first-half but the referee and his assistant adjudged James McCarthy to have been in an off-side position when he diverted Dwight Gayle's shot into the back of the net.

Palace would eventually get their goal, though, as Scott Dann powerfully headed home from a corner, but their lead would be short live as Pape Souare could only turn Adama Traore's pass into his own net.

However, Crystal Palace were not to be denied on the day, with Bakary Sako arrowing home what would eventually prove the winner after Dann had pounced on a defensive error.

Full Report

Both sides looked lively in the opening stages but it was Palace who created the first real chance after 10 minutes as Jason Puncheon got sight of goal from just outside the area, but he could only drag his shot wide of the mark.

Villa looked to respond and should have taken the lead five minutes later as Gabriel Agbonlahor showed a clean pair of heels to Joel Ward before racing through one-on-one with Alex McCarthy, but the striker fluffed his final effort to allow the goalkeeper to save with his legs.

The visitors again threatened after catching Palace sleeping at a quick free-kick, but Idrissa Gueye's eventual shot from 25 yards fizzed just wide of the upright.

Both sides pushed for the opener in the closing stages of the first-half, but Sako could only fire straight at Brad Guzan while some nimble footwork from Jack Grealish at the other end only resulted in a corner, one which Villa went on to waste.

Palace boss Alan Pardew looked to shake things up at the break and brought on Jordon Mutch and Gayle, who made instant impacts with some slick build-up play which ended with the former crossing in for Sako, but his header from a tight angle was well saved by Guzan.

Villa also looked revived though and Leandro Bacuna came close to a stunning opener but could only lash his long-range shot wide of the mark, before controversy struck in the 62nd minute when Gayle's effort deflected in off James McArthur, only for the referee, after consulting with the linesman, to rule the goal out for off-side.

The home fans' anger soon turned to joy, though, as Palace got their goal, Puncheon's telling corner finding Dann, who powerfully headed home into the back of the net, despite Jordan Amavi's attempts to clear off the line.

The Eagles almost got a second moments later as Sako unleashed a stinging effort from range, but Guzan was just able to get fingertips to the ball to send the danger behind.

They were then made to pay for that miss as Villa drew level with just 13 minutes remaining, £7m off-season signing Adama Traore producing an incredible run down the wing before cutting back from the by-line, with the unfortunate Souare only able to deflect the ball past his own goalkeeper.

However, the day would eventually belong to Palace as Jordan Amavi lost possession in his own half before Dann thread the ball through to Sako, who smartly rifled his effort past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.