Report: Palace fall to late defeat against Chelsea - News
• Two changes for Palace as França & Wharton make first Premier League starts
• Gallagher drags wide for Chelsea with only shot in first-half
• Silva and Palmer go close as visitors start second-half brightly
• França and Mateta combine as Palace look to hit back
• Fernandez adds third for Chelsea deep into stoppage time
Jefferson Lerma had put Palace ahead after half-an-hour with a thunderbolt of a goal; his first for the club, and our 1000th strike in the top-flight, was no less than the Eagles deserved for a brilliant first-half display.
But Chelsea proved the more efficient team in front of goal in the second, former Palace loanee Conor Gallagher scoring at either end of the half before Enzo Fernandez added a third – supremely harsh on the home side – on the counter.
Palace were seeking a third straight home Premier League victory, with manager Roy Hodgson handing Adam Wharton and Matheus França their first league starts in a red and blue shirt. Daniel Muñoz also started in what was his first match at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles made a bright start in front of the Selhurst faithful. Jordan Ayew tested Djordje Petrovic’s handling in the Chelsea goal after five minutes with a sharp turn and strike from distance, before Chris Richards got on the end of a lofted free-kick from Will Hughes, but could not direct his header – back-to-goal – on target.
While the visitors enjoyed the greater possession in the early stages, Palace had the better penetration on the counter – França’s curling through ball was not far from setting Jean-Philippe Mateta in on goal, but was marginally overhit.
The opening quarter of the game admittedly lacked momentum, but Palace continued to enjoy the better opportunities; a slack back-pass from Malo Gusto presented Mateta with the chance to shoot from a tight angle, but his placed finish failed to truly test Petrovic.
The game needed a spark and on the half-an-hour mark, Lerma provided it, writing his name into club folklore with Palace’s 1000th top-flight goal – and in some style.
Tyrick Mitchell and Lerma combined to win possession high off Moisés Caicedo. The Colombian took a touch inside, lined up his sights – and rifled the most sensational of strikes from 30 yards, dipping beyond the despairing dive of Petrovic and finding the top corner.