CRYSTAL PALACE 0-3 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, AUG 12TH 2017, ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE.
Palace saw their Premier League campaign get off to a poor start as Huddersfield Town recorded a convincing victory at Selhurst Park.
The new boys raced into the lead via a Joel Ward own goal and a strike by Steve Mounie, and he would wrap up the win by notching a second late in the second half to ensure Frank de Boer’s first league game as Eagles boss would end in defeat.
Hopes had been high before kick-off when he was warmly greeted by a packed Selhurst decked in red and blue, but Huddersfield’s game plan was quickly implemented as they attacked the Eagles on the counter and they found plenty of joy in the first half.
There was an early let-off when Tom Ince side-footed an attempt at Wayne Hennessey when well-placed, and then after 20 minutes Philip Billing drove a powerful blast straight at the Welshman from 30 yards.
But three minutes later the 3,000 visiting fans were celebrating when they registered their first ever Premier League goal. Aaron Mooy’s dangerous corner was flicked on by Christopher Schindler at the front post, and when his centre-back partner Mathias Jorgensen played it back across the area, it hit Ward and the ball agonisingly trickled over the line.
Palace were stunned, and two minutes later they found themselves two behind when another attack down caused problems. Mooy was the architect again as he was slipped into space by Chris Lowe, and his cross was perfect for the unmarked Mounie who gleefully headed past Hennessey to hand De Boer’s team a mountain to climb.
It could have been even worse on the half–hour mark when only a last-ditch sliding challenge by Ward prevented Ince netting on his Selhurst return, and then Jorgensen should have done better when another corner caused problems and the Danish international nodded wide.
Needing something to spark them back into life, Wilfried Zaha provided a glimmer of hope when he wriggled past Schindler and then Jorgensen to get a sight of goal, and his low strike was destined for the bottom corner but Jonas Lossl get a slight touch with his foot to edge it wide of the post, and then after the winger struck another attempt straight al Lossl, Christian Benteke headed a corner just wide as Palace rallied before the break.
They would go into the interval two behind, but knowing one more goal would seal an opening day victory, the Terriers continued to push and after Lowe saw a bouncing low strike pushed away by Hennessey, Mounie blasted the follow-up over the bar.
Andros Townsend was introduced at the break and straight away made an impact, jinking his way down the right before centring but Benteke couldn’t quite reach his pass, however he did get on the end of a Patrick van Aanholt corner on 53 minutes but a superb reaction save by Lossl denied last season’s top scorer getting off the mark for the new campaign.
The pressure was being cranked up and a wonderful sliding challenge and cross-field pass by Ruben Loftus-Cheek released Zaha again who tricked past Danny Williams but couldn’t find a way past Lossl, however the Eagles’ efforts were nearly undone when a mistake at the back by Scott Dann allowed Mounie to race in one-on-one with Hennessey but before he could seal the win, Timothy Fosu-Mensah charged back to put in another fine last-ditch tackle and keep Palace in the game.
Time was slipping away from them though and Dann lashed a chance over the crossbar when a corner fell nicely to him, and that proved to be a costly miss as a minute later Town wrapped up the win as they bagged a third.
A long ball down the flank released Collin Quaner down the right and he teed up Mounie who had broken into the box, and the Benin international rattled the ball in first-time to condemn Palace to an opening day defeat.