LONDON (Reuters) – Two goals from Wilfried Zaha and a late strike by Jean-Philippe Mateta helped Crystal Palace come from behind and defeat Aston Villa 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday for their first win of the Premier League season.
Mateta volleyed a fine cross from Tyrick Mitchell home from close range to wrap up the win in the 71st minute, with Palace having taken the lead when Zaha scored on the rebound after Emiliano Martinez saved his penalty.
It was the forward’s third league goal of the season and he now sits at the top of the scoring charts alongside Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Leeds United’s Rodrigo Moreno.
Earlier, Ollie Watkins ran on to a pass by Leon Bailey and put Villa ahead in the fifth minute for his first goal of the campaign, but a vibrant Palace did not need long to respond.
Zaha found himself in space two minutes later and slotted the ball past Martinez to restore parity for Patrick Vieira’s side, who could have gone in front had Jeffrey Schlupp’s strike not been ruled out for offside.
“We worked hard,” said Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze, who was another one of their outstanding performers. “We wanted to put in a good performance at home and get the three points, which we did.
“We were looking to be creative in and around their box and see things but unfortunately (Schlupp’s ruled-out goal) didn’t come off. Regardless we had a good performance and it’s good we came away with three points today.
“It was a difficult start but we did what we could, put in good performances and it paid off.”
Villa defender Lucas Digne handled the ball in the penalty area after the break and Zaha’s initial shot from the spot was saved, but the Ivorian striker made no error on the rebound in the 58th minute.
A second defeat from three matches this season will heap the pressure on manager Steven Gerrard and questions will be asked about the manner in which his team capitulated in the second half as Palace improved.
“It’s a step backwards on the back of last week,” said Gerrard. “It wad the perfect start for us, we looked dangerous going forward but we never kept the lead for long enough. We allowed Palace back into the game.
“We never reacted well enough from going 2-1 down. We were really unlucky, the keeper made a fantastic save but the follow-up… I think the penalty is really harsh on us. We hit the bar so for large parts of the game we were well in it.
“But the game ran away from us. We didn’t defend well in the big moments and we’ve been punished.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pritha Sarkar)