Newcastle United 0 Crystal Palace 1
- Stuart Attwell
Newcastle United missed the chance to pull further clear of the Premier League’s drop zone as Luka Milivojevic’s late penalty earned Crystal Palace a narrow victory.
United had the better of the opening hour with Salomón Rondón, Florian Lejeune and DeAndre Yedlin all going close. However, their attacking charge started to peter out as time wore on, and Serb Milivojevic gave the Eagles the lead after Yedlin’s clumsy challenge on Wilfried Zaha.
Save for a glancing Ayoze Pérez header, the Magpies failed to muster much in response – despite a hefty chunk of stoppage time being added on at the end of the game.
Palace were the first to go close as the game got off to an end to end start. A neat passage of play culminated with Michy Batshuayi teeing up Jeffrey Schlupp on the edge of the penalty area, and the former Leicester City wide-man fired narrowly past the far post. Then, at the other end, Rondón nodded off-target from a Matt Ritchie corner, with the Venezuelan then turning provider for Isaac Hayden, who called Vicente Guaita into action with a low 20-yard shot after a one-two.
With just over a quarter of an hour played, Rondón just over-hit the final pass after linking up with Ayoze Pérez, but Ritchie picked up the pieces and stung the palms of Guaita with a fierce drive. A quieter period followed, but United – and Rondón in particular – continued to look a threat. With 34 minutes on the clock, the frontman gathered Yedlin’s header into the box after the ball ricocheted against the Eagles’ James Tomkins and forced Guaita into another stop with a low-struck effort.
The Magpies, however, had to survive a scare before the break. Tomkins wheeled away in celebration after tucking away Milivojevic’s corner from the right, but referee Stuart Attwell disallowed the goal after James McArthur was adjudged to have strayed into an offside position and obstructed the view of Martin Dúbravka.
As they did in the first, Palace got off to a bright start in the second half. Zaha helped Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross back into the penalty area, and Schlupp guided a glancing header narrowly off-target from six yards.
United quickly found their feet, though, and Lejeune looked poised to open the scoring after meeting Ritchie’s corner in a central position, only for the Frenchman to head straight at Guaita. Then, with the Magpies starting to turn the screw, Yedlin powered the ball agonisingly wide of the upright with a first-time strike from Miguel Almirón’s lay-off.
Their momentum was stalled, however, by a nasty injury to Lejeune, who fell to the floor awkwardly after a tackle on former Magpie Andros Townsend. That prompted Rafa Benítez to make a switch, with Jonjo Shelvey introduced for Ki Sung-yueng. Unfortunately, though, United found themselves trailing just moments later.
Fabian Schär was fortunate not to make contact with Zaha as the Ivorian sprinted into the 18-yard box. Yedlin, though, was not as lucky, clattering into the winger to gift-wrap Palace the chance to draw first blood. The ever reliable Milivojevic made no mistake, sending Dúbravka the wrong way to continue his remarkable scoring form from the spot.
Benítez introduced Christian Atsu as United looked for a way back but, in truth, Palace looked largely at ease after taking the lead, with the Magpies’ five-game winning run on home soil coming into an end in the April rainfall.