Ndidi sees red on birthday … as Palace maul Leicester 3-0

Posted on Dec 17 2017 - 3:03pm by admin

Crystal Palace climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone as they outplayed Claude Puel’s resurgent Leicester to seal a rare away win.

Christian Benteke cost Palace victory when he missed an injury-time penalty he was not supposed to take last weekend, but the striker redeemed himself with a first-half header from Andros Townsend’s cross — his first goal of the campaign.

Palace had failed to score in their past 10 league away games, but Roy Hodgson’s organised and adventurous team added a second before the break when Benteke’s strong run and pass set up Wilfried Zaha for a brilliant individual finish.

Leicester only tested goalkeeper Julian Speroni when they rallied in the second half – the Argentine reacting superbly to reach Riyad Mahrez’s angled low drive with a strong palm.

Any potential comeback was hamstrung when Wilfred Ndidi was sent off on his birthday less than a minute after Vicente Iborra’s header was correctly disallowed for a foul.

Ndidi, who turned 21 yesterday, was shown a second yellow card for simulation in the penalty box with just under half an hour to play.

Palace had a much more legitimate penalty shout when Benteke was crumpled in the area by Marc Albrighton’s sliding tackle from behind, but the referee waved away appeals for a chance to add extra gloss on an impressive away performance.

Bakary Sako eventually provided it — tucking away Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s pass across goal to round off a 94th-minute counter-attack.

The Foxes, who so impressively dismantled Puel’s former club Southampton in midweek, remain eighth in the table, while Palace rise four places to 14th — though the teams below them are yet to play this weekend.

Puel said any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Ndidi was dismissed in the 61st minute when he went over too easily inside the penalty area.

Ndidi will now miss the midweek Carabao Cup clash with Manchester City at the King Power Stadium.

“Of course it is always harsh,” said Puel. “I didn’t see a replay, but I think it was too little fall, maybe and it is harsh to lose a player like Ndidi because he is a crucial, valuable player.

“His work is fantastic and without Ndidi it is difficult with a player less, difficult to come back.”

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