Aston Villa leave it late to beat Crystal Palace as Roy Hodgson misses match
Aston Villa scored two stoppage-time goals to complete a late turnaround as they won 3-1 against Crystal Palace, who were without their unwell manager Roy Hodgson.
The 76-year-old was taken ill on Saturday morning and did not travel to Villa Park, but looked like he was going to receive the perfect tonic as his side led through Odsonne Edouard’s early second-half goal.
But Jhon Duran fired home an exquisite equaliser in the 87th minute and then Douglas Luiz struck from the penalty spot in the eighth minute of added time after the decision had survived a rigorous pitchside monitor check by referee Darren England.
Leon Bailey’s goal two minutes later sealed what was a worthy victory for the hosts, who bossed the majority of the game.
It was their ninth home league win in a row, which equals their best post-war record as things continue to look up under Unai Emery.
Palace did not say how poorly their manager was before the game, but did confirm he would be in touch with first-team coaches Paddy McCarthy and Ray Lewington throughout the encounter.
But his mood would not have been improved after the chaotic end to the match where his side conceded three times in 13 minutes.
Palace also endured a tough opening, with Villa’s pace and running causing them problems.
They did not make it easy for themselves either and Joel Ward presented Ollie Watkins with a golden chance to open the scoring as he misplaced a pass and the Villa striker went clean through on goal but Sam Johnstone produced a good save to rescue his captain.
Hodgson would not have enjoyed what he was seeing remotely and it looked like they fell behind in the 34th minute.
Moussa Diaby, living on the shoulder of the Palace backline, was superbly picked out by Pau Torres and the France international raced clear and clinically fired home.
However, he was marginally ruled offside by VAR and Palace again escaped.
There were more sighs of relief soon after as Matty Cash miskicked his shot after good work by Nicolo Zaniolo and then the Poland right-back headed over another good chance.
Palace had barely threatened in the first half, but went ahead inside two minutes of the restart.
Jean-Philippe Mateta spun Torres on the right and sent in an inviting cross for Edouard to slide past Emiliano Martinez, who had slipped but would have been out of position anyway.
It was the 25-year-old striker’s fourth Premier League goal of the season and gave Palace a lead out of nowhere.
Palace threatened to build on that advantage and should have gone 2-0 up on the hour-mark but Ward could only divert Joachim Andersen’s header wide of the post from close range.
They could have done with that going in as Villa launched an assault in search of an equaliser.
Duran fired straight at Johnstone with his first touch after coming on before the hosts came within inches of levelling.
Watkins and Bailey both had shots blocked in quick succession and the ball again went to Watkins, and his first-time curling effort hit a post before rebounding off Johnstone and just wide.
The breakthrough eventually came three minutes from time as Duran superbly controlled Lucas Digne’s cross on his chest and then lashed in a fierce left-footed shot.
Five minutes later they were awarded a penalty when Chris Richards brought down Watkins, with referee England taking nearly three minutes in front of the monitor to decide a foul had been committed after the Palace defender impeded his opponent.
Luiz stroked home from 12 yards and then Bailey sealed the win at the end after converting from close range.
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