HomePremier League'It was crazy!' Gallagher savours first Chelsea goal

‘It was crazy!’ Gallagher savours first Chelsea goal

Soccer Football – Premier League – Crystal Palace v Chelsea – Selhurst Park, London, Britain – October 1, 2022 Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher scores their second goal REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

LONDON (Reuters) – Conor Gallagher celebrated his first goal for Chelsea, a sumptuous winner in the dying moments of Saturday’s London derby against Crystal Palace — the club he played for on loan last season and whose fans applauded him off the pitch.

“It was crazy, to be honest. Of course I was dying to get on the pitch,” said Gallagher, who came off the bench to seal Chelsea’s 2-1 comeback win in the 90th minute at Selhurst Park.

“Thankfully I got the chance to get a shot off and it went in which, you know, it had to come against Crystal Palace,” the 22 year-old told BBC television.

With the game seemingly heading for a 1-1 draw, which would have left Chelsea further adrift of league leaders Arsenal, Gallagher received a pass from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic and curled a shot into the top corner.

“I loved my time here and the fans have been brilliant. They clapped me after the game, after I’d just scored… I am buzzing with the three points and buzzing with my first goal for Chelsea, and hopefully it’s time to kick on from here.”

Midfielder Gallagher scored eight times across all competitions in 36 appearances for Palace during a loan spell which saw him voted player of the 2021/22 season for the South London club.

The home fans warmly applauded him before Saturday’s game, as well as after it, and appreciated Gallagher for not celebrating his goal in front of them.

“We’re delighted with Conor’s fantastic strike,” said a relieved Graham Potter, Chelsea’s new manager, who was able to mark his first Premier League match in charge of the Blues since taking over from Thomas Tuchel with a win.

“He has a lot of respect for Crystal Palace as you can see from his reaction but he’s a Chelsea player now.”

Crystal Palace coach Patrick Vieira had mixed feelings about the goal.

“He had a really good season when he was with us last year and this is the way that the fans show their appreciation,” the Frenchman said.

“It’s a good goal. But we should not concede. We shouldn’t allow him to take that chance because we had enough people around the ball to stop him taking that chance.”

Vieira also said he disagreed with the decision by referee Chris Kavanagh, backed up by VAR, not to send off Chelsea defender Thiago Silva for denying Jordan Ayew a run on goal by handling the ball.

Silva was shown a yellow card and a few minutes later the Brazilian set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to equalise in the first half after Odsonne Edouard had put Palace ahead.

“It’s difficult for me to understand it and to accept it so it’s better sometimes for me to be quiet and not talk about it,” said Vieira who was shown a yellow card by Kavanagh shortly after Aubameyang’s goal.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by Clare Fallon)