Huddersfield 0-1 Crystal Palace: Zaha's sublime goal gives victory

Never has the old adage of not booing a bad player rung truer.
With 38 minutes of a goalless affair gone, Wilfried Zaha picked up the ball close to the right touchline and immediately the Huddersfield supporters jeered.
There appeared to be little on for the man who Palace do not win without. A couple of step-overs and a lightning burst past Florent Hardegjonaj and Phillip Billing, however, gave him a sight of goal. He did not waste it. Zaha's finish was as good as his run, sailing beyond the outstretched arms of Jonas Lossl and into the far corner. 
To their credit, some of those home fans who booed now applauded. In these parts there remains an appreciation for good football, even if it has come from the opposition.
Incredibly, Palace had lost the last 12 Premier League matches in which Zaha was not involved, including last time out's disappointing 2-0 home reverse at the hands of Southampton.
Here, he was influential in a first victory since their opening day triumph at Fulham, which left David Wagner's hosts still searching for a first win of their second season in the sun.
If you believe what you read, there appears to be little reason for Huddersfield turning up this season. The Terriers are not well-backed to repeat last term's miracle and are expected to return to the Championship.
Defeats at the hands of Chelsea and Manchester City are to be expected. And while a home draw with Cardiff City was disappointing the point earned last time out, at Everton, gave hope that this is not a lost cause. Goals continue to be the issue, with Wagner's side now scoreless in 24 of 43 top-flight fixtures.
Another adage: in the Premier League you have to take your chances.

H uddersfield (5-4-1): Lossl 6; Hadergjonaj 6, Zanka 6 (Depoitre 78, 5), Schindler 6, Kongolo 6, Lowe 6.5; Billing 7, Van La Parra 5 (Mbenza 78, 5), Mooy 6.5, Kachunga 6 (Diakhaby 68, 5); Mounie 5.5 .
Subs not used:  Hamer, Smith, Williams, Pritchard.
Booked: Zanka
Manager: David Wagner 6
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Hennessey 6.5; Wan-Bissaka 6, Tomkins 7, Sakho 7, Van Aanholt 6.5; Milivojevic 6.5, Kouyate 6.5, McArthur 6; Townsend 6.5 (Schlupp 90), Ayew 6, Zaha 7.5. 
Subs not used:  Guaita, Ward, Meyer, Sorloth, Kelly, Riedewald
Booked: Zaha, McArthur
Goal: Zaha 38 
Manager: Roy Hodgson 7 
Referee: Lee Mason 
Star Man: Zaha (Palace) 
Attendance: 23,696
On 17 minutes Huddersfield wasted a glorious one.
Aaron Mooy's raking cross-field pass found Chris Lowe on the left and wrong-footed Palace's defence. The full back's curling cross found an unmarked Steve Mounie but, with Eagles' keeper Wayne Hennessey in no man's land, his header dropped onto the roof of the net. The home supporters, no doubt anxious to ensure heads remained up, applauded. It was, however, unforgivable.
Huddersfield had started well. Palace were frustrated, and it showed when captain Luka Milivojevic, with the ball gone, smashed into the back of Mounie in front of referee Lee Mason. No card was forthcoming.
One was moments later, when Zaha was cynically brought down by Zanka. Palace wanted red, but with Zanka not the last man, yellow was the right decision. Zaha, probably the most-fouled man in Premier League history, did not take it well and was himself booked for clattering Florent Hadergjonaj at the other end. Lowe's resulting fee-kick evaded everyone and came close to creeping in at the far post.
Then came Zaha's moment of brilliance.
Following the break, with three up front, Huddersfield pressed for an equaliser. The excellent Billings, falling to the turf, shot over the bar before two chances came and went in the space of a minute. First Aaron Mooy's controlled volley from a Lowe cross struck the inside of the post with Hennessey beaten, before from the resulting scramble to Palace keeper pushed Hadergjonaj's low drive to safety.
From a Palace break, Jordan Ayew fluffed his lines when presented with a golden chance from Andros Townsend, before the visitors had a goal disallowed from Cheikhou Kouyate for a push on the goalkeeper.
Huddersfield brought on deadline day signing and Belgium Under 21 international Isaac Mbenza but, with James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho at the back, Palace are a tough nut to crack.
Christopher Schindler wasted another chance, firing a loose ball high into the stand from inside the area before Billing's shot was deflected agonisingly wide by McArthur in the final act.
After five games last season, Huddersfield had eight points. This year it is two. It may even be an even finer achievement if they can stay up second time around.

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