Crystal Palace sub Christian Benteke scored a majestic volley in stoppage time to snatch perhaps the least-deserved three points in Premier League history at the Amex Stadium last night – I can’t recall a game where a team that dominated play so much ended up losing, and you only had to look at Albion boss Graham Potter’s expression of incredulity when Betenke scored to see how the Belgian’s sucker punch felt.
Potter said afterwards: “It’s sore, I’m bitterly disappointed with the result because I thought we were the team pushing all the way, trying to get the winner ourselves.
“We have to respond, accept it and as painful as it is we have to move forward. You are watching the game, watching the team, we are trying to find the solution to score and to get punished at the end is a painful one.”
4 – Despite scoring three goals, Crystal Palace mustered just four shots against Brighton this season (1 at Selhurst Park & 3 at the Amex), the joint-lowest tally across two games by any side against an opponent in a single Premier League season on record (since 03/04). Steal. pic.twitter.com/l5XTQhwFCF
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 22, 2021
Brighton really did dominate the whole game at the Amex, although they went 1-0 down on 28 minutes when Palace’s French forward Jean-Philippe Mateta scored with an instinctive, brilliant back-heel. Joel Veltman equalised for Albion ten minutes into the second half, but they should have scored several times; one goal from 25 shots is an awful return.
“It is unbelievable. They [Palace] are getting away with it,” said Veltman afterwards. “It feels like a robbery of our points. The chances we didn’t finish and they had half a chance and Benteke scored. We have to score more.
“Because of this result we are getting in the danger zone. We have to react and West Brom away is a very important game.”
On the flip side, you could of course argue that Brighton were wasteful and Palace were extremely efficient. To see Albion playing such nice football and end up with nothing – and in real danger of getting relegated – is a reminder that football and fairness are not companions.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson knows this. He said: “We get so hung up on statistics these days. The game is decided by goals. Goals are a question of how well you take your chances and defend theirs.”
Preach, Roy. Preach.
Man of the match: Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)