Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace: Trezeguet scores twice in controversial win

Trezeguet scored twice as Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation in a game which included two controversial video assistant referee decisions.

Mamadou Sakho thought he had put Palace ahead when the ball appeared to strike the defender’s shoulder on its way into the net – but it was ruled out for handball after a lengthy delay, much to the visitors’ dismay.

Villa then took the lead just before half-time when Egypt winger Trezeguet side-footed the ball into the net at the back post after Palace had failed to clear a free-kick.

Shortly after the break, the hosts were awarded a penalty by referee Martin Atkinson after Patrick van Aanholt’s challenge on Jack Grealish, but the decision was overturned after another long VAR check.

Villa’s first Premier League win since 21 January was sealed when Trezeguet toe-poked home his second goal to leave the West Midlands side four points from safety with three matches, against Everton (away), Arsenal (home) and West Ham (away), to go.

After the final whistle, Palace forward Christian Benteke, who was playing against his former club, was shown a red card as tempers boiled over.

Palace, who have now lost their past five league games, started with Wilfried Zaha, who revealed before the match he had received racist abuse on social media.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson described the abuse of the 27-year-old Ivory Coast forward as “cowardly and despicable”.

  • Follow all of Sunday’s Premier League action
  • Racist abuse of Zaha ‘cowardly and despicable’ – Hodgson

Huge three points for Villa

Villa are running out of time to pull off a miraculous escape but a first win in 11 league games at least gives them a fighting chance.

After victories for fellow strugglers Watford and West Ham United on Saturday, the visit of Palace was a must-win game for Villa and Dean Smith’s side delivered – even if they did require a slice of luck to achieve it.

With the game goalless, it appeared a harsh VAR decision to deny Sakho a goal because of handball as Luka Milivojevic’s looping ball appeared to come off the defender’s shoulder on its way past keeper Pepe Reina.

Villa recovered from that scare to seize control, Mbwana Samatta heading over a good chance before Grealish was denied by a good Vicente Guaita save.

The breakthrough came on the stroke of half-time, Trezeguet pouncing after a free-kick was inadvertently flicked on by Joel Ward into the path of the forward.

Villa kept their focus after having Atkinson’s decision to award a penalty overturned, and Trezeguet struck a crucial second after the ball fell to him inside the penalty area.

Reina produced a fine stop to keep out Van Aanholt soon after Guaita had prevented Conor Hourihane from making it 3-0.

Villa’s aim is to be in with a chance of staying up by the time they face West Ham on the final day of the season on 26 July. This result at least gives them hope.

Flat ending to the season for Palace

Palace will be upset that Sakho’s goal was overturned but they were well beaten in a match which ended in ugly fashion.

Benteke, who was twice denied in the first half by Reina, was shown a red card following a flashpoint after the final whistle had been blown.

It completed a miserable day for Hodgson’s side, who have lost five of their six games since the Premier League resumed.

Palace, who have already secured an eighth successive campaign in the top flight, have failed to score in five of the past six matches.

With home games against Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as a trip to Wolves, still to come, Hodgson will be seeking an improvement from his side before the end of the season.

What’s next?

Both teams are back in action on Thursday. Villa travel to Merseyside to face Everton (18:00 BST), while Crystal Palace host Manchester United at Selhurst Park (20:15).

More to follow.

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Line-ups

Aston Villa

Substitutes

Crystal Palace

Substitutes

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Crystal Palace 0.

Dismissal

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) is shown the red card for violent conduct.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Crystal Palace 0.

James McCarthy (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jack Grealish (Aston Villa).

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by James McCarthy.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Anwar El Ghazi replaces Trézéguet.

Foul by James McCarthy (Crystal Palace).

John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Max Meyer (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa).

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Patrick van Aanholt.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Keinan Davis replaces Mbwana Samatta.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Marvelous Nakamba replaces Conor Hourihane.

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Matt Targett (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross following a set piece situation.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by John McGinn (Aston Villa).

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

Attempt saved. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Max Meyer replaces Luka Milivojevic.

Hand ball by Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa).

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jairo Riedewald replaces Cheikhou Kouyaté.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend replaces Jordan Ayew.

Attempt saved. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John McGinn.

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