Zaha brace settles thriller with Brighton

Zaha brace settles thriller with Brighton

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson insists Ghana global Jeffrey Schlupp will return to action soon. A short corner from Luka Milivojevic was returned to him by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Matt Ryan couldn't get enough on Milivojevic's shot.

However, Brighton soon stunned Palace by halving the deficit through Murray, who was perfectly placed to lash home from inside the six-yard box after Lewis Dunk had powered a header towards goal.

That hope was nearly immediately dashed as the insane start to the game continued.

However the Eagles restored their two-goal advantage on 24 minutes, as Zaha was left unmarked and ghosted past Ezequiel Schelotto to head Milivojevic's pinpoint cross from the right in at the the back post.

For the neutral, this was turning into one of the games of the season.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton was upset with their first-half performance for defeat to Crystal Palace.

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Zaha tried his luck from distance shortly after the half-hour mark as he looked for his hat-trick but moments after Ryan had made a comfortable save, Brighton again found a way back into an absorbing contest.

It was after two draws in an FA Cup first-round tie the touchpaper was well and truly lit. Palace's Phil Holder, a former Brighton player, got the only goal of a second replay at Stamford Bridge. Jurgen Locadia produced a neat through ball to Jose Izquierdo and the Colombian took his time before picking his spot and burying it in the bottom corner.

Aside from an ambitious free kick from an acute angle from Milivojevic, Palace were struggling to work Ryan in the Brighton goal and it resulted in Christian Benteke being introduced from the substitutes' bench. Kayal whipped in a teasing cross which Murray stretched to divert goalwards, but he couldn't test Wayne Hennessey. He then dwelt on the ball for too long and allowed Izquierdo to reiginite the attack.

The Seagulls were really starting to put the pressure on in their search for an equalizer, and Hennessey had to be alert to push away a dipping effort from Dale Stephens. It didn't help that Murray missed a clear chance to level at the death. Equally, three points for Palace would be just the shot in the arm they need if they are to preserve their own status.

Hodgson's side are now three points clear of the drop zone, although 18th-placed Southampton do have a game in hand.

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