Eberechi Eze registered his first Crystal Palace goal with a sublime free-kick as Roy Hodgson’s side thrashed Leeds United in an entertaining match at Selhurst Park.
Scott Dann headed in Eze’s corner to put Palace ahead after 12 minutes, before £19.5m summer signing Eze, 22, curled his set-piece expertly into the top corner.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford had been denied an equaliser when his excellent, chipped finish was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee because of his outstretched arm being offside.
But Bamford, who endured a difficult loan spell with Palace in 2015, took his next chance just as well, controlling Mateusz Klich’s header with his chest before firing into the bottom corner.
Palace’s two-goal advantage was restored before half-time as Helder Costa conceded an own-goal in attempting to block Patrick van Aanholt’s cross from the left.
Pascal Struijk headed narrowly wide and Ezgjan Alioski was denied as Leeds chased a second-half response, but Jordan Ayew put the result beyond doubt with Palace’s fourth on 70 minutes.
Crystal Palace moved up to sixth with victory, three points behind leaders Southampton, as Leeds dropped to 14th.
Eze stars in ruthless Palace display
A disappointing 2-0 defeat by Wolves last Friday saw Hodgson’s side punished for a slow start at Molineux – one from which they could not recover. They could ill afford the same against Leeds.
With Eberechi Eze and Jordan Ayew handed starts – along with James McArthur in place of suspended captain Luka Milivojevic – Palace duly responded at Selhurt Park as Eze set up Van Aanholt to force an early save from Illan Meslier.
Eze’s influence grew from there as the England youth international offered boundless energy in both attack and defence, though it was his quality from set-pieces which allowed Palace to stamp their authority.
After Dann managed to squeeze his header past Meslier’s fingertips, Eze, in just his third Premier League start since moving from Queens Park Rangers, won his free-kick with a driving run before whipping the ball over the wall with power and precision.
Unshaken by Leeds’ response, the hosts enjoyed good fortune as Costa’s own-goal restored a two-goal cushion and Hodgson’s side remained comfortable as Ayew slotted in from Wilfried Zaha’s pass to add gloss to the scoreline.
Palace have now already registered three or more goals in two of their eight league games so far, including their 3-1 win over Manchester United, despite failing to do so in any match last term.
More to follow.
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- 3van Aanholt
- 10TownsendSubstituted forSchluppat 71′minutes
- 44RiedewaldSubstituted forMcCarthyat 77′minutes
- 9J AyewSubstituted forBentekeat 85′minutes
- 6CooperBooked at 49mins
- 43KlichBooked at 77mins
- 21StruijkSubstituted forRobertsat 71′minutes
- 17Hélder CostaSubstituted forDias Belloliat 45′minutes
- 18Dias Belloli
Match ends, Crystal Palace 4, Leeds United 1.
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 4, Leeds United 1.
Foul by Jack Harrison (Leeds United).
James McCarthy (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Mateusz Klich (Leeds United).
Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces Jordan Ayew.
Attempt missed. Raphinha (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.
Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).
Attempt saved. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.
Liam Cooper (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace).
Substitution, Crystal Palace. James McCarthy replaces Jairo Riedewald.
Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Mateusz Klich (Leeds United).
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jack Harrison (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jairo Riedewald (Crystal Palace).
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