10-man Liverpool snatch last minute win at Crystal Palace

Reds move to seventh place in log as Belgian striker scores penalty.

Sunday March 6 2016

Liverpool's striker Divock Origi (up) vies with Crystal Palace's defenders Joel Ward (right) and  Scott Dann during their English Premier League football match at Selhurst Park in south London on March 6, 2016. PHOTO | AFP

Liverpool's striker Divock Origi (up) vies with Crystal Palace's defenders Joel Ward (right) and Scott Dann during their English Premier League football match at Selhurst Park in south London on March 6, 2016. PHOTO | AFP  

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Substitute Christian Benteke won and scored a 96th-minute penalty as 10-man Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Joe Ledley’s 48th-minute strike and Liverpool midfielder James Milner’s second-half dismissal for two bookable offences looked to have set Palace on course for a first win in 12 league matches.
But a slip by Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy gifted Roberto Firmino a 72nd-minute equaliser, before Damien Delaney’s rash challenge on Benteke enabled the Belgium striker to net the winner with a last-gasp penalty.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who host Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, climb two places to seventh after recording a third successive league win for the first time in a year.

It was a fifth consecutive home league defeat for Alan Pardew’s Palace, who remain nine points above the relegation zone in 15th place.

A thigh injury cost Palace the services of in-form striker Connor Wickham, who had scored four goals in his previous two games, but Emmanuel Adebayor quickly set about proving himself a capable deputy.

He created the game’s first clear chance in the seventh minute with a square pass for Yannick Bolasie, only for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to slide out bravely and save.

The Togo international then went close twice in as many minutes, first working Mignolet with a disguised shot towards the near post and then clattering the bar with a header from Pape Souare’s left-wing cross.

SHOTS BLOCKED

Liverpool’s carelessness in possession repeatedly gave Palace chances to attack them and in the 25th minute Yohan Cabaye rippled the side-netting from Wilfried Zaha’s pass after Divock Origi had lost the ball.

Preferred up front to Benteke and Daniel Sturridge, Origi curled the ball onto the roof of the net from just outside the box in Liverpool’s only opening of the first half.

Any hopes that the half-time break would give Liverpool time to clear their heads evaporated within three minutes of the restart as Ledley slammed in after Mile Jedinak and Souare had seen shots blocked.

It was the Wales international’s first club goal in over a year.

Klopp reacted by introducing Philippe Coutinho for right-back Jon Flanagan, but within a minute his side were down to 10 men as Milner was shown a second yellow card for sliding in from behind on the fleeing Zaha.

However, while McCarthy had no trouble fielding Liverpool’s first shot on target in the 65th minute, comfortably gathering a skidding effort from Firmino, seven minutes later his error allowed the visitors to level.

The 26-year-old slipped as he attempted to send the ball downfield, sending the ball straight to Firmino, who took a touch before slotting home.

MATA SENT OFF

Meanwhile, Juan Mata was sent off as Manchester United's hopes of Champions League qualification were dealt a serious setback in a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The Spaniard received two quick-fire bookings mid-way through the first half, for blocking a free-kick and then taking a swipe at Darren Fletcher, and West Brom made their numerical advantage count in the 66th minute when Salomon Rondon netted his fourth goal in six Premier League games.

It ended United's recent revival of four straight wins and left Louis van Gaal's side in sixth place, three points below the Champions League berths having played a game more than fourth-place Manchester City.

United are now in danger of being caught by forthcoming Europa League opponents Liverpool, who are three points behind them with a game in hand following a last-gasp 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Mata was shown his first yellow card in the 24th minute at The Hawthorns for blocking Fletcher's free-kick and saw red two minutes later for clumsily swinging his foot at the former United midfielder.

Craig Dawson almost put West Brom in front immediately, only for his ambitious 25-yard lob to fall inches wide of the left-hand post.

Having survived until half-time, United started the second half strongly and threatened through young forwards Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

But West Prom claimed the points when Venezuelan striker Rondon gathered Sebastien Pocognoli's drilled left-wing cross before slamming home left-footed to lift Tony Pulis's men 15 points clear of the bottom three, effectively securing their survival.

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