Jordan Ayew scored the only goal of the game as Palace claimed their first away victory over their rivals in the top flight.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic was welcomed back into the Matchday squad for the visit to the Amex, but Roy Hodgson decided to stick with the same eleven which earned a hard fought victory over Newcastle last weekend.

The away side started the stronger of the two teams, and nearly went ahead inside four minutes. James McArthur drove forward after a clever turn in the centre circle, before chipping the ball to Benteke, who didn’t properly connect with the volley and shot well wide of the goal.

Just a few minutes later, Palace were presented with another glorious opportunity to go in front. Benteke leapt high above the Brighton central defenders, heading the ball into the path of Cheikhou Kouyate, but the ball was smothered by keeper Matt Ryan before the midfielder could have any real attempt at goal.

And then came the game’s most controversial incident. Zaha went over to collect the ball for Palace after it had run out of play, when he suddenly clashed with Brighton substitute Ezequiel Schelotto, who was warming up on the sideline. The Argentine kicked the ball at Zaha’s shins, sparking an angry reaction from the Palace star.

Replays show that Zaha appeared to spit in Schelotto’s direction, before cupping his ears in the direction of the home faithful.

Just before the half-time break, Solly March was presented with a great chance to open the scoring. Leandro Trossard crossed the ball to the far post, where March was unmarked, but the player could only find the side netting.

The visitors were lucky not to fall behind, when Lewis Dunk’s header early in the second half hit Neil Maupay instead of the back of the net.

The Frenchman really should have scored a few moments later when he was clean through on goal, but the former Brentford striker shot straight at Guaita.

The Eagles rode their luck, whilst the victors could not convert any of their chances. Guaita was equal to the task for both Neil Maupay and Aaron Mooy’s attempts at goal.

Benteke had another chance to score from Patrick van Aanholt’s corner midway through the second half, but the Belgian’s header was wayward.

Then came the deciding moment of the game. Benteke picked up the ball on the left flank, before driving forward, and slotting the ball through to Ayew. It was a perfectly timed pass

and all the Ghanian had to do was beat Ryan in goal – and that he did with a first time effort which clipped Ryan’s leg before making its way into the net, sending the away end into raptures.

The win moves Palace up to 12th in the table, some twelve points ahead of the bottom three, with just ten games to play.

Man of the match – Vicente Guaita


Brighton: Ryan; Montoya (Jahanbakhsh 78’), Webster, Dunk, Burn; Pröpper, Bissouma (Alzate 82’); Trossard, Mooy, March (Murray 66’); Maupay; SUBS: Button, Schelotto, Stephens, Gross, Alzate, Jahanbakhsh, Murray. (4-2-3-1).

Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Dann, Cahill, van Aanholt; McCarthy (Riedewald 46’), McArthur, Kouyate; Zaha, Ayew, Benteke (Tosun 87’); SUBS: Hennessey, Kelly, Riedewald, Milivojevic, Meyer, Townsend, Tosun. (4-3-3).