Palace taste first defeat as Everton make the most of a VAR ruling
By Yann Tear at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace 1 Everton 2
A harsh-looking penalty award helped end Palace’s unbeaten start to the season – with a first-half header from Cheikhou Kouyate not enough to save the day.
The Eagles had half chances but Carlo Ancelotti’s team held firm to record a third straight win.
Palace may have intended to shock and awe with their trademark breakouts of defence and an afternoon of seeing less of the ball than the visitors, but they were soon forced to chase the game.
Everton – like Palace seeking to maintain a 100 per cent league record – were in front after just 10 minutes when one of their early-season headline grabbers put them in front.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin tucked home another goal-poacher's effort from inside the box after great work down the right between Real Madrid import James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman had carved open the home rearguard.
Heads did not drop and on 26 minutes, Kouyate powered home a header from under the bar after a wicked corner delivery from Andos Townsend on the right.
But the Toffees were back in front five minutes before the interval thanks to a VAR intervention, which prompted referee Kevin Friend to award a penalty after deciding Joel Ward had intentionally handled a knock down from Lucas Digne.
Richarlison made a stuttering run-up but put away the spot-kick high to Vicente Guaita’s right.
Palace responded well to the challenge of fighting their way back into the match – forcing a succession of free-kicks in dangerous areas after the break. Eberechi Eze enjoyed an encouraging first Premier League start and both Townsend and Wilfried Zaha probed energetically, along with James McArthur in the midfield engine room.
But the attack still looked blunt and did not sufficiently test Jordan Pickford’s wobbly confidence. Roy Hodgson threw on Michy Batshuayi and Christian Benteke late in the day but neither could make a difference as the match petered out.
Palace: Guaita – Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell – Townsend, McCarthy, McArthur (Riedewald 87), Eze (Batshuayi 75) – Ayew (Benteke 82), Zaha. Subs not used: Milivojevic, Meyer, Hennessey, Kelly