Anglo/Nigerian playmaker inspires Palace to victory over Villa

Nigerian eligible star, Eberechi Eze provided two assists and hit the crossbar as Crystal Palace edged Aston Villa 3-2 at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

John McGinn coolly passed the visiting Villans into the lead after 17 minutes as they capitalised on a dominant start to the game.

Former Villa striker Christian Benteke pulled one back against the run of play, but the sides were level for all of two minutes before Anwar El Ghazi smashed home his tenth goal of the season.

The Eagles came out with renewed vigour in the second half and they equalised when Wilfried Zaha’s shot was deflected past Emiliano Martinez.

An improbable comeback from the hosts was completed with six minutes left when Tyrick Mitchell chested the ball home from close range to snatch all three points.

The visitors were dominating territory and possession, carving out another opportunity inside the first ten minutes when Kortney Hause headed narrowly wide on his first appearance of 2021.

Pressure continued to build as Palace struggled to cope with Villa’s forward play, and when Ollie Watkins took aim with a driven right-footed shot, Jack Butland was called into his first save of the match.

But there was nothing the ‘keeper could do minutes later as McGinn opened the scoring, running onto a headed clearance and stroking the ball into the corner via a flick off the back post.

Benteke scored 49 goals in his time as a Villa player, and he showed his goalscoring prowess to pull Palace level after 32 minutes, looping a back post header beyond Martinez.

The goal was a sucker punch in a half dominated by the away side, but they responded superbly to retake the lead almost immediately.

Watkins was instrumental in the goal, beating Gary Cahill to a header in the box and glancing the ball to an unmarked El Ghazi, who hammered the ball past Butland at the first attempt.

The start of the second half was the complete opposite to the first, with Palace piling on the pressure as they looked for a way back into the match.

Eze was the Eagles’ chief threat as he tormented the visitors.

Dean Smith responded to the hosts’ upping the ante by bringing on Jack Grealish, but it was Crystal Palace’s talisman, Zaha, who pulled his team level.

Eberechi Eze located Zaha who cut inside from the left and his shot took a wicked deflection off Ahmed Elmohamady on its way past Martinez.

Palace were suddenly full of life, attacking with searing pace, and they almost took the lead for the first time when Eberechi Eze’s shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Their pressure eventually forced a third goal through Eze’s assist, with Mitchell bundling the ball home as the ball made its way to the back post.

Eze is still eligible to play for Nigeria at international despite his youth link with England.

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